George Szirtes has skewered Jeremy Paxman; nicely, poetically, but firmly. He may be wriggling at this moment. In pinning Paxo to the wall, George has written with insight about poetry itself. I particularly liked this:And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,Then how should I beginTo spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?T S Eliot
Poetry is as ancient as language itself, and the sense of the poetic precedes language. Animals could be charmed by music; mere drumming can heal the sick. The poetic even penetrates to football commentators who exclaim "Sheer poetry!" at a particularly wonderful moment. They tend not to exclaim "Sheer prose!"Ah yes, the beautiful game. A wonderful metaphor for artistry. Playwrights come out of it pretty well too. There is the "Theatre of Dreams", faking injury is "play acting", a match can be "high drama", a club plunging down through the leagues is "a Greek tragedy".
But what about us prose writers, especially those who get published by a respectable academic press? What do we get? A prosaic style of football, and that's it. Surely we can join in the fun. How about, "that goalless draw was as turgid as a Judith Butler paragraph!" No? Ah well, I suppose we will have to resign ourselves to playing in the Championship, whilst the poets and dramatists fight it out in the Champions' League.