Following the thrill of the greasepaint, things are returning to normal here in the Archive, as far as ‘normal’ goes. We have a new poet laureate just intime for the new royal sprog, and I for one can’t wait to see Mr Armitage’s fulsome praise over this latest appendix to the civil list. In other news, the perpetual dithering over Brexit is making it difficult to recruit new interns in rural Bulgaria and metropolitan Malta, with a natural reluctance on their part to commit to a seven-year indenture when who knows where we’ll all be by then. Well, we know where they’ll be, down here in the Archive working off their boat fare over, and you’d think that working underground would be a positive plus in a world edging to a new cold war. And incidentally, before the letters start flooding in (because we don’t currently have the staff to read them), no we are not doing local archivists out of a wage, because the positions are strictly unpaid.
Anyway, moving onto this week’s workshop, we saw a smaller, tighter group this week with only five readers, but plenty of tangents flown off on between poems. Martin Choules already had his head in the clouds as he bemoaned the lack of really alien aliens, while John Hurley has been breathing the foul air of modern life and gasping out his warning in couplets. Meanwhile, the blues have befallen Daphne Gloag, which gave her plenty to smile about, while Alan Chambers is losing his five senses but thankfully not his sense of language, and finally Caroline Am Bergris’s lifeforce has given her a good talking to.
The former poet laureate who spent the most time at the workshops must surely be William Wordsworth. The young firebrand who saw revolution as very heaven was much cooled by his appointment in 1843, and one wonders what his cocky younger self would make of this aged establishment sellout. And perhaps his wiser older self would reply that Keats, Shelley and Byron were twenty years dead, and likewise his publishing career, with even Sir John passing on to the great workshop in the sky. But was a little of the old young Northern tyke still about his refusal to write any official verses for the new queen ? And for her part, why was she so quick to agree that her first appointed could, well, rest on his laurels as a tribute act, packing them in on the salon circuit with his greatest hits ? Perhaps she was just relieved she wouldn’t have to hear any more about those bloody daffodils !