Guest poem submitted by Victoria Paterson:
(Poem #596) I Say I Say I Say
Anyone here had a go at themselves for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists with a blade in the bath? Those in the dark at the back, listen hard. Those at the front in the know, those of us who have, hands up, let's show that inch of lacerated skin between the forearm and the fist. Let's tell it like it is: strong drink, a crimson tidemark round the tub, a yard of lint, white towels washed a dozen times, still pink. Tough luck. A passion then for watches, bangles, cuffs. A likely story: you were lashed by brambles picking berries from the woods. Come clean, come good, repeat with me the punch line 'Just like blood' when those at the back rush forward to say how a little love goes a long long long way.
Simon Armitage is a British poet, aged in (I think) either late twenties or very early thirties. He has published several collections of poetry, and two novels (one with another poet called Glyn Maxwell). I suppose, critically speaking, this isn't his best poem , but it's one of my favorite poems. I don't know if Armitage has ever attempted suicide, but to me, someone who has, this poem speaks volumes. I don't know if there's a lot to say about it - it speaks for itself, I think. Victoria. [thomas adds] A poem that's more than a little reminiscent of Sylvia Plath - witness these lines in Lady Lazarus: "Dying / Is an art, like everything else. / I do it exceptionally well. ". [Britannica on confessional literature] Confession: in literature, an autobiography, either real or fictitious, in which intimate and hidden details of the subject's life are revealed. The first outstanding example of the genre was the Confessions of St. Augustine (c. AD 400), a painstaking examination of Augustine's progress from juvenile sinfulness and youthful debauchery to conversion to Christianity and the triumph of the spirit over the flesh. Others include the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), by Thomas De Quincey, focusing on the writer's early life and his gradual addiction to drug taking, and Confessions (1782-89), the intimate autobiography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. André Gide used the form to great effect in such works as Si le grain ne meurt (1920 and 1924; If It Die...), an account of his life from birth to marriage. Such 20th-century poets as John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton wrote poetry in the confessional vein, revealing intensely personal, often painful perceptions and feelings. -- EB