Tuesday 6 May 2008


Went to hear Michael Palmer read his poetry at the City Art Gallery yesterday, very musical, flowing, and as most poets do, he gave an introduction to each poem, though when Bill Manhire who was running the show asked him afterwards about what he thought about introducing each poem this way in print, he did not think it was a good idea.

His last poem was very short, and memorable, The End of The War, "She lifted her arms and took the clips out of her hair", that is what I remember, it may not be exactly that.

Then he went and spoiled the whole feel of the event with bitchy comments about a colleague who had been made Poet Laureate, what bad poetry he wrote for the Queens' birthday. That is what I remember, the little poem at the end, and his bitchy comments and also rudeness to Bill, who made a little joke about doing a song and dance routine while MF was scrabbling through his papers looking for a poem, and MF said without pausing for a breath, Oh if you cannot tolerate the silence, and that was such an obvious taunt, and so stupid.

In the evening went to Ngaio Library where 6 local writers were being introduced, including one who was doing the Creative Writing course at Whitireia, 3rd year, and that took my breath away, though he has published a book...and there too someone was rude, so in the future I'll give these things a miss, which is what I used to think anyway.


Bill said...

Hi 'Suzannah' :)
Saw you at the Michael Palmer thing, but I think you must have left by the time we got outside.
Interesting your comments about 'Lord Palmer'.

I certainly got a very academic, aloof, curt and a kind of arrogant attitude from him, but I don't think I would go so far as to say he was rude. In fact I was impressed with the way he answered those three questions by that woman who I'm sure some lesser people would gloss over as poetry 'juvenile' or something like that. I thought his answers to her questions were quite thoughtful and gracious.

So yeah, I certainly didn't warm to him like a favorite grandfather or anything, but I think like he was saying about poets and depression - poetry is a solitary art and some of the side effects of that are depression, moodiness and I'm sure for some people a lack of social grace perhaps? Or just inexperience when dealing with people? I think I'd put him more into that category than the 'rude' category.

Anyway still enjoying your Blog. Cheers heaps.

I hope you don't mind me leaving my opinion floating around? Perhaps you can delete it if you don't like it? :)


'Bill' - Yes, the real one ;)

Michalsuz said...

No, no that's fine, Bill, thank you for taking the trouble to leave a comment.
I can't separate the man from his art, I want artists to use their art to arrive at a deeper understanding of themselves and others, beautiful words and rhythms on their own are not enough - for me, at this point.
As to inexperience - I imagine that as a big star in the US, he's got plenty of exposure. You are kind, as always....

See you next week- Suzannah