Archive for Stephen Fry

TWITTERHAIKU

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

I have consistently refused to join Twitter, but with help from friends I can’t help noticing its remarkable and growing influence on everyday life.

Recently, Albert drew my attention to Twitter Haiku. I assume it was from Albert. I recognized the tell-tale smeary trail across the window pane. A smail of few words, Albert had set a terse question: “Twitter Haiku?”

Twitter Haiku? Why not, I wondered. Twitter seems an admirable medium for poets. Its favoured son Stephen Fry adores poetry. The one hundred and forty characters rule hints at a near-perfect burst of arrows. Fourteen lines with ten bits a line: the ancient stable for a sonnet. Why not write Haiku and post them to Twitter?

Why not indeed? And call them Twaiku. Yoko Ono recently judged a Twitter Hiaku competition:

To submit haikus, commuters have to place the prefix @kingsplace so their entries will be picked up by the Kings Place Twitter account. The best contributions are then moderated and appear within minutes on the largest digital billboard at the station. The initiative has been launched by Kings Place, a cultural and conference centre, situated in Kings Cross.

The winner was Simon Brake, a London commuter and designer.

A Haiku has a purity that defies tyrants and spies alike. Maybe Twitter will embrace Haiku. Long may Haiku reveal their truths in a confusing and threatening World.

TWITTERHAIKU

Writing a Haiku
Lines on autumn papyrus
Converge. Star streams

Waters paint the land
With lead grey strokes. Arches yield,
Expire. Patience

The Reluctant Twitterer

An Ode Too Far? Book Review of Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 24, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

The Ode Less Travelled

What better book for The Reluctant Twitterer to review than one about poetry, and written by twitter icon and celebrity supertweeter Stephen Fry?

The Ode Less Travelled sets out to unlock the hidden poet in the reader. It worked for one reader at least. The book started out with one big advantage, and several handicaps. In the folklore of publishing, there are checklists of factors which reduce the chances of a book’s success. A technical diagram, an equation, a mathematical formula would all be mostly on the debit side. The Ode Less Travelled has all three potential barriers to commercial success. On the other hand, these may be out-trumped by a celebrity author.

‘OK, Steven’ I can hear the cornered publisher concede ‘you want us to do your poetry book, we’ll do it. But next time how about an epic journey? How about you follow the American election campaign like Simon Sharma?’ So Stephen gets to do his book on poetry, before the multi-media package of book add TV series for the BBC.

Anyway, The Ode Less Travelled gets published. As I indicated, its declared aspiration is to encourage would-be poets to have a go, and it worked for one reader at least. It got me out of the closet. No, not what you might think. For many years I have been a closet poetry writer. A reluctant poet if you like. Fry addresses just such closet poets as myself with the beguiling argument that it’s OK to be known as a practicing poet. It’s OK particularly because you can write poetry for your own gratification.

Like singing in the bath, you don’t have to be good at writing poetry to feel good about doing it. Indeed, if you are writing for yourself you are also the first and last important critic of your work.

I was given the book as a Christmas present. I dipped into it, not quite in the spirit of self-study advocated by its author. But then, a year later, I became interested in, and began writing about social media.

For whatever reason, my reluctant twittering came out partly in verse. I have Stephen Fry to thank for that.

I don’t know why
But Stephen Fry
was sitting on my shoulder.
Although perverse
I wrote in verse
His book had made me bolder

So there you have it. A satisfied customer. I now go back to the book from time to time for its additional merits as a guide to poetic form. Call me ungrateful, but I also find the book a rather frustrating travel companion. As another poet almost wrote

Ingratitude, more strong than traitor’s arms, then vanquished him

Fry is far too bright to be unaware of the technical difficulties he faced in getting to his alleged goals. He actually refers to the dangers of embarrassing over-chumminess. Well there is a bit of that. More embarrassing for me was the tone of the old school teacher (or quiz-master) jokingly urging his students (panellists) to study (behave) in the correct way. Read Out Loud. Don’t go any further until you’ve Done Your Exercises. [RT @ Stephen Fry on Twitter: #LOL, now its #ROL].

A more disturbing and ungracious thought persists. The book is far too comprehensive. Too much effort has been expended in an effort to cover all the multitude of poetic forms that might be found in a good anthology of poetry. This aspiring poet would have settled for the unravelling of the secrets of the most familiar forms of poetry encountered from childhood. But the book continues remorselessly as Mr Fry introduces us to more and more obscure poetic forms which are close to extinction.

More seriously, he draws on two main sources of illustration. His own efforts, and those of other poets. As he graciously admits, his own verses are there to illustrate basic poetic forms, and make no claims of creative merit.

I took it into my head that SF had hit on a wheeze. Suppose you are indeed a closet poet. You have a notebook full of your efforts, five finger exercises, as well as four finger and three finger ones. And in addition you have the influence to place them with a publisher. Well, I know what I’d do. I’d write the book and include in it all those otherwise unpublishable efforts.

As I said, that’s utterly ungrateful. Perish the thought. Heaven forbid. Just put it down to sheer poet envy.

Chicken Licken Flip Flop All Fall Down

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Children playing

I was reading that excellent poetry book by Stephen Fry. In it he said anyone can write verse, just for pleasure and fun.

Then I thought about those old nursery rhymes and wondered what a new one would sound like in my head. And this is what came out:

Chicken Licken Flip Flop All Fall Down

Whose lights are out there growing?
Chip chop, chip chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop
All fall down

What fires are out there glowing?
Chip Chop, Chip Chop

What cries are out there going?
Chip Chop, Chip Chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop
All fall down

What scythes are out there mowing?
Chip Chop Chip Chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop
All
fall
down

TWITTER SIXTEEN I AM NOT STEPHEN FRY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 23, 2009 by Tudor Rickards
Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Twitters every day
Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Twitters come what may
Loved by the low
Loved by the high
Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry

So Stephen Fry
writes poetry
so what?

Stephen Fry
twitters

The Reluctant Twitter
Twitters not

I am
The Reluctant Twitterer