Image by Chris Skilton Smith

Song of the Battery Hen

Edwin Brock


Song of the Battery Hen

Edwin Brock


Poem introduction

The more poetry I write the more I come to the conclusion that I'm really an 'anti-poet' and I'm not trying to be clever when I say that, I'm not trying to pretend that I'm bringing some new attitude towards poetry, nor trying to set myself up as an original. I'm saying merely that for me, writing my own poetry, words are a curse, sometimes even a bore. The kind of poetry I dislike is a kind of accomplished verbosity - I dislike it as I dislike garrulous people who talk to me merely as an excuse to hear their own voices. The kind of poetry that excites me is that which comes closest to direct communication, the kind of communication that one can sometimes feel without words in a look or a gesture but words are what we make poetry with, we're stuck with them, we have to take them into account. What then? I can only answer for myself and perhaps I'm the only one who feels this particular dilemma and perhaps I cheat myself but rightly or wrongly I've decided that what I'm looking for is a tone of voice. I tell myself that the tone of voice is my own, that it's the kind of voice I'd use if I were in a pub trying to communicate this kind of experience to a sympathetic listener. That's where I actually cheat myself because the kind of experience I try to communicate really begins where words leave off. Now again I'm not trying to be clever - we do things, things are done to us which at some later date point to an insight which is just beyond verbal communication, then one can only kick the words out of the way and try to give a refined account of the experience hoping that the reader will go on reading when the poem ends.

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