There’s a feature on the BBC website at the moment about everyday, functional poetry that I thought was fantastic. The idea is that if poetry has a purpose and function it might help to breathe new life into an art form that is losing popularity.So the BBC invited four poets: Ian McMillan, Niall O’Sullivan, Wendy Cope & Joe Hakim to turn the everyday into verse – things like wiring a plug, using a cash machine or getting a speeding ticket. You can hear the Joe Hakin version here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7988559.stm. They are short, with a Haiku-esque quality and there’s something pleasing about seeing the mundane transformed and presented in a different light. The poems contributed by readers are interesting too – Bill Campbell turns the well-known ‘You do not have to say anything, but it might harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence’ into:
Be quiet? Omissions may haunt you
Speak? Admissions may damn you As a saviour for poetry I’m not convinced this has any future – but it’s different and diverting.