"There's one thing about Gerry that's very important. He has a strong ego but it's an ego that can assert itself without diminishing other people. And I think that's a rarity. It's a rarity in this city, and it's a rarity in the world."His direct straightforward unapologetically forthright poetic style and way of capturing phonetically in print the real voice has been an inspiration to meself over the years.
I began referring to him as England's real poet laureate some years ago when commenting on the Guardian because what he is doing and the poems he writes memorizes and recites in his one man theatre shows, are truly the voice of the real unashamedly loud proud and out essence of a truly great inclusive warm kind English culture that is too clever, too creative, too full on, too honest, too real, too peroppa Scouse working-class for your average aspirational would be English courtier page poet of the barely perceptible epiphany to respond to in anything other than awed, and, all too often, sadly, envious silence.
His truly astonishing poetry is authentically amazing, honestly the most memorable I have heard in a live setting, life-affirming, soul-enriching, and sincerely great in the most positive cultural sense and meaning of this often unthinkingly and tritely deployed adjective.
And this expert life-long creative genius is the poet with the most technically perfected turn on a sixpence voice I have witnessed live in all my time as a hearer and listener of poetry voices both in Dublin for the last thirteen years and England for the thirty-seven prior to that.
One that has spent its entire theatrical existence running on stage through the full accentual register of the English language Voice. Able to tackle, take on, imitate, and perfectly capture all points from the two extremes of the most nonthreatening and pawshest of dahling lahvy poety poos ehn awfleh nace, to a terrifyingly rock 'aard in ye face ooh aaarrgh ye laaargh menace of the dead boss real North inner city Scotty Road Scouse.
And this Old Lancashire language expert and culturally underground legend brilliantly brings the heartbreak sorrow laughter sound and love song of Liverpool to life in a voice that "takes off like a jumbo jet set for heaven.
Carrying it's roar on winged prayer, / Jesus is in there, so are Mary and Joseph, / a religious motif kicking like a mule / schooled by gravitas, failed by school. / Gravels like a death rattle / arrogantly assuming Resurrection, / and sometimes can't be aaarsed meet'n makers. / It's protection against the worst laid / plans of movers and shakers. / Sounds honest, even when lying / 'onest. No denying the conviction it can / carry if it needs to escape. / It'll convince you statues can fly / while drinking ye drink / make ye think you're listening to ye best mate. // Runs through sewers, floats on / updrafts of gossip and jangle / it's passionate about Misses Millaney not geh'n a paper tha' day! / I love the way it bounces off walls / and ricochets like a hail of neon bullets / in a hall of mirrors // it's brothers, sisters, a family / of flat vowelers partying in sing-song / intonation. Dances in hotpants, has nothing to prove / one thousand intonations under a groove, / with kick assonance attitude / a pop-cultured reference, rock 'n' roll, / heart and soul, and rude.As is always the way with the working class autodidact few 'serious' poety poos are gonna volunteer to praise a superlative voice as talented as his poetry in print and tell the truth that it is absolutely original and his use of language puts him up there with the very best poets in England. Indeed live, he is the best. No ifs no buts, just a fact.
Simply because page poets, even though when we see him recite live and we hear he is the superlative English talent, most of what we talk about in poetry and most of what makes it into the broadsheet literary pages is 90% old school courtier Caxtonian networking and PoBiz, and ten percent genuine poetry. So, well, Gerry who?
Easy self-deception, nobody else is writing of this poet because there are more important more artificially elevated and state approved and supported next gen this poet yes gen that poet no gen him him no her no reject reject.
And all the award winners on all the schemes and training at the many grooming centres and talent hothouses and Poetry Clinics where Creative Writing MFA (Toilet Paper) Qualified Professionals embedded within the culture curate the scene of do it yerself.
As Robert Graves states in his first of the 1954/5 Cambridge Clarke Lectures, The Crowning Privilege:
Unlike stockbrokers, soldiers, sailors, doctors, lawyers, and parsons, English poets do not form a closely integrated guild. A poet may put up his brass plate, so to speak, without the tedious preliminaries of attending a university, reading the required books and satisfying examiners. Also, a poet, being responsible to no General Council, and acknowledging no personal superior, can never be unfrocked, cashiered, disbarred, struck off the register, hammered on 'Change, or flogged round the fleet, if he is judged guilty of unpoetic conduct.
The only limits legally set on his activities are the acts relating to libel, pornography, treason, and the endangerment of public order. And if he earns the scorn of his colleagues, what effective sanctions can they take against him? None at all.
Today a click of the mouse, creation of a Facebook Page, several moody tasteful professional portraits on the phone camera, a few tweets, hey presto, fully qualified in the time it takes to create a social media account.
Some spend all day, some longer, a year and two, then three doing this focused tweeting and Facebooking and recitals at the mic until bingo, a senior elder in the makey uppy decade old DIY great Bardic Live Facebook Slam New poetry revival.
Founded not on the five bardic Ogham aicme ('family') scales but a makey uppy go-ham mo-hag go mah oh mag hog am Facebook mics.
All writing and especially poetry presented to us in the corporate broadsheets is done by packaging it into 'award winning' every tin pot corporate cold hard cash prize going.
That we know from the 2001 UK Private Eye article and the 2004-7 US Foetry.com exposing the less edifying reality and truths of the cliquey relationships that exist between prize judges and their winning poet-colleagues-friends-lovers-students on the sometimes rigged merry go round.
Who win big not always because their shtuff is the most original linguistically authentic and genuinely deserving, but sometimes dahling pyurleh cozov the mass media corporate PoBiz networks of jaadjez and their wenning courtier poety-poos friends colleagues lovers and groomed acolytes cheerleaders disciples fangurls followers mentees and devoted slavishly indoctrinated students taught in the age old aristocratic way of winning by knowing one's place and serving a higher silent nod and wink cause; that exists everywhere throughout the Anglophone whirl and in every other language.
Due to basic subjective human nature and a deep desire to see only who the judges believe want and make to be the most deserving and winning excellent imaginations by the most democratic fairest hook, crook, nod and intellectual wink processes in Poetrydom.
Often very opaque and not at all transparent because poetry is terribleh complex and challenging for the non-expert lay Reader without sessions and series at the Expert Poetry Reader Classes facilitated by Professional Poetry MFA (Toilet Paper) Curators charging very reasonable rates to the neophyte in search of a guru to radically change their lives through the complicated and oft misunderstood art of puatreh.
Totally taking the piss until Foetry's creator and poetry prize corruption exposer, Anonymous, came along and drove the American MFA (Toilet Paper) Professionals insane like s/he was Putin and Trump conspiring to bring down the free world. Until the angry crowing poets who'd banded together to hunt down the identity of who they hated having expose their cozy links;- revealed it was Portland Oregon librarian, Alan Cordle.
Mister Foetry who there'd been two years of growing grumbles then outright hatred of just for existing and having a dream that involved some sense of honor, justice, literary fairness and decency that ended the worst excesses of the rampant flagrantly ignoble corruption, much against Official Verse Culture's will. Dragged screaming and kicking into it like a 1950s priest to a Repeal the 8th demo.
A bespectacled and principled bookish defender of poetry who'd become the most hated person in America's Official Verse Culture for a few years in the mid Noughties until everyone calmed down and carried on and Cordle got stuck in chatting online at Blog Harriet when it was still gloriously all up for grabs and the Poetry Foundation hadn't yet received the $100 million from pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly.
After which their blog Harriet, where all the chat-action happened for two glorious years 2007-9, shut up shop and silenced a hitherto healthy conversationally critical continental back and forth between the many center-less American language Professionals whose home Poetry Foundation's talk centre did not hold but chose to end a once vibrant All American Contemporary AmPo discussion on anything at all concerning US World poetry; to concentrate on funneling Lilly's millions into lots of the new specially chosen award winning next generation poetic hotties on the artificially created Professional MFA (Toilet Paper) American Poetry merry go round.
If all the supporting prize and award winning baubles of nomenclature and structure of artificial and uncritical blurbastical language of corporate relevance didn't exist there'd be no way of marketing the irrelevant stuff as they do. The "award winning excellent and amazingly insightful, yet also obtusely deft-footed and schematically overlaid textually driven literary voices with a systematically tonal" blah blah blah.
It many times and some say mostly mirrors the class systems in the oligarchies in which it is published, a pecking order of judge-poets deciding not on the quality of what is in the mind of the poet and how original and startlingly different and great their ideas/work are/is, but on a corporate model, network, and wholly rigged Poetry & Class system and corporate-monar-oligarchy already in place from the day ye born till the day ye die.
The very last thing the Establishment encourage is working-class poets to write outside the courtier poet corporate model, speak, and be more eloquently yi self in print than the lahvy dahling Oxbreligious Ivy League Establishment courtier poety poos on whose voices the entire modern American and Anglophone aristocratic courtier poetry models are founded and rest.
An entire corporate cultural educational global literary legal and social apparatus is in place to make sure any working class s/he does not reach our intellectual potential and start saying logically and coherently and persuasively, let's change the system to a fairer one and democratically create a ... - and have people agreeing with ye.
I know because I got thru 200 Guardian accounts over the five/six years (2007-13), because all the writing I was doing on them was being blocked, banned, and deleted by an Anonymous s/he.
That I only discovered after she left to edit mumsnet, and my harmless spontaneous discourse centred on one's studies of the literary filidh poets' curriculum got left alone - was the Cambridge graduate Poetry Critic and Books Blog Editor I'd long suspected it was.
Who pulled every stroke in the book to silence my gob for loving Her and learning for free whilst doing my literary filidh studies and spontaneous writing and not playing the game everyone else does.
A harmless mature student engaging in creative re-connection with and studies of the clí/ridgepole and then anruth/noble stream grades, on what in the original Gaelic was a twelve year course but which took me in English translation sixteen. And merely a poetry lover doing their own thing who was anonymously targeted and editorially bullied by one of the most very educationally privileged from the top of the corporate literary culture tree.
Herself also brainwashed by the class system that she was all in and totally bought into it seeing me intellectually rejecting her model of poetic reality and not at all approving and deciding I had to be stopped from publishing.
And it was great really as it was the perfect physically risk-free cat and mouse head game to sharpen the intellect and make me focus on being creative with writing by being forced by this faery, effectively, to remain wholly on topic with no smart cracks and learning blind the intellectual operating system of someone opposing one's own who was top of their class and thus one learned the truth of how publishing works for free without the heartbreak many experienced pre-internet when not publishing meant nobody hearing ye but the cat in the garage where ye stapled the chapbooks.
And then a breakthrough when a piece of writing was left on because it had been seen by too many people and was so straight and true, so on topic, so good, that its removal made them feel grubby. And so hard won minor victories began accruing and with the best pieces only taken off after the comments had closed when nobody would be aware of just what an intellectually underhanded top class editorial nasty this anonymous weirdo was. Now the Literary Director of Arts Council England.
And of course people like this, the very last thing the BBC are gonna broadcast is Kirsty Wark waxing lyrical on the transgressive brilliance of The Queen S***s N***, that is too incendiary to be broadcast anywhere on corporate tv.. her maj's cultural enforcement complex do not want us owning the language and saying shit like this which is considered too much ideary precisely because it has escaped the brainwashing by being written in English outside of the culture.
That is why poetry changes absolutely nothing in English culture because the stuff ye are given is Official Verse Culture's especially chosen and curated version of what is good for you, what will make you bend the knee and dream of a stranger dressed in a uniform with a sword elevating you to the spiritual nobility that only exists within a person and no amount of hal and bro 'n' princess Meg making it all so yoof 'n' cool can hide from those with half a brain the reality of it.
That real class comes from within oneself and we alone either find and draw it out, or we do not and stay confused thinking nobility is not the sovereign spiritual state within all people, but what some one madj arse outside of yourself alone has to give you.
That they transmute in you a base undeserving unworthy plebeian mind to one of their aristocratic nobility just by you being in their physical presence and them transmitting some spoken agent that effects a spiritual change in you just by them uttering the word arise.
Nobility is a life-long drawing out not a one minute kneel and go in front of some stranger who was born with voluminous nomenclature that other people spend a lifetime doing socially and culturally good devotional deeds just to earn a tiny fraction of it in that one brief kneel and go. And there they are arrayed in medals for being born, and to boot, ye all have to cheerlead and love it and agree how amazingly brilliant and how lucky ye all are for 'em to be there inspiring ye.
Why do you think the werking-klawz voices are in literary silence, sixty million voices not writing owt and thinking yiz aargh dirteh lettle oinks? Con job, voice and accent, it means eff all, burrih werks dahling dahznt eht?
Thinking that the sound of ye accent is an indicator of intelligence. Look at Bojossiah, see what a thick and dangerous cnut he is and how he got a gig making the world more dangerous purely on the sound of his mooer dickish lahvy voice and arrogant fake nobility routine.
You can intellectually make your own nobility by study and writing, and be born with spiritual class, but all the spoken wordies and all the contemporary earnest lahvy poety poos droning on in England all their earnest knee-jerkish ranty Clowntalkin social me dearest duckie poos politicking aint changed joke shet.
Makes the poety poos feel special and that is it. Ooh yeah summat's happening look iz'n air madj awh static's coming into the studio to do a poem, oh look let's make it and talk about it and fling money at it and look summat's happening everyone look look whizz bang worra picture look look smiley theatrical it is poetry everyone poetry bbc poetry guardian poetry look look ..Poetry it aint, it is shallow vacuous and hollow. It is a con.
If it was real yid know abaargh rih twud plow the borrom ti tha' toppa ye head off laargh 'n' change ye fok'n life not solicit responses of so pleased for ye, really love it, excellent and all the other i am sucking ye hole right off ye responses in the fakery kiss ass courtier poet English slangwidj model.
The last real poem that I heard from England go round the world was from Tony Walsh whose poem This Is The Place, with his impromptu ending, 'choose love Manchester. Thank you very much', summed up the authentic class and nobility of the real silent ordinary textually voiceless English people's desire for peaceful cultural solidarity and showed the world how to react to those seeking to divide normal human beings with violence.
Respond with love and stand as one together and say, ye won't divide us, we aint gonna react how ye want, we know the story, a city of winners kidda, we have one collective peaceful loving voice and ye wanna hear it, ye will. Rock 'n' roll.
"Because the Manchester way, is make it yourself."
"This the place that has helped shape the world
And this is the place where a Manchester girl
Name of Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side
Led a Suffragette City with sisterhood pride"
What those instigating the violence wanted was Mancunians and ordinary English folk at each others throats and Lancashire showed the world we might be at each other's throats twice a season home and away thirty miles down the road over petty competitive sporting shit when the two and now three most successful teams in Britain and Europe kick a bag of wind about as pure physical Art on which world class Lancashire culture is founded, but that evil shit aint gonna work in the red rose heartland, fukwitz.
All it's gonna do and did is bring people together and serve as an example to the world of the cultural efficacy and power of one single solitary person's voice speaking one real Peace and Love Poem. That went round the world and back again in the call and return: "Because this a place where we stand strong together": "it bestows after duty / which is climbed after diligence / which poetic ecstasy sets in motion / which joy turns / which is revealed through sorrow; it is lasting power / undiminishing protection".
One of the few culturally unifying and globally positive purely literary poetic reactions to an evil event clearly meant to cause global instability. Look, we are dancing, look we are together, we are one people. The pure and authentic dignity of England's silent peaceful law abiding tolerant wise witty and kind democratic majority united as one positive people rarely depicted as such by the monsters of the mass media with their war agendas.
So we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity
Because this a place where we stand strong togetherI am lucky as i took the road virtually never traveled by deciding in the first weeks of Edge Hill to spend at least the same twelve years 1000 years of Gaelic poets spent, studying in English translation, the set textual literary filidh curriculum that ye can only be doing since i started in 2001 coz of the internet making it possible to access the texts.
And it was only last year, and only near the end of last year after sixteen years of studying reading and spontaneous writing, I knew that finally the scholastic puzzle's many many pieces were all in their correct places and all I's dotted and T's crossed, some Ormskirk woolly back, who now can take on and intellectually put in their palace any poet in the whirl and not av te purron any accent buh me real wunz lahvy dahlings poety poos in Her Highness's realm saying worra yiz sayin laargh, no no no no no, the finest authentic poetry in England is werking-klawz duckie and it is coming outta the mouth of a poet from Scotty Road called Gerard Butler aka Gerry Potter.
Like me using his ma's nee name, i assume, and he is the best poet in England, the Real People's poet laureate who speaks to and documents ahz dahling not yous, our culture, the real English culture, in one's 'umble, the same as Noel Sweeney is the best in Malta and was top of the tree in Dublin.
Ay, tharris di Joy of doin summat from start to finish and now being at the start of speaking and not one pwitty leddle fing dem tharrel think theez aargh berra than yiz can do abaarih laargh. Lols.
Kevin Desmond Swords