Visiting Poem (Maxine Beneba Clarke)

National Poetry Week (Maxine Beneba Clarke)

party, party

The fabulous Maxine Beneba Clarke,  West Indian-Australian writer & poetry slam champion (blogging at Slamup) let me steal one of her poems for the celebrations.

Here ’tis:

What Will Change in National Poetry Week

every fifty two weeks

there is a national week
of poetry / which
really only exists
in our alternate
& in no way

as if we cd stand & say
my name is such & such
& I’m a poet
without fear
that someone backed away
or rolled eyes in mockery
(as if national veggie week / wd
make all three year olds
love broccoli )

if it really was a week / for us
we/d wouldn’t celebrate
we/d be celebrated

national poetry week


i for one
am not placated

will the storyteller
at children/s library time
stand on her plastic chair
& scream the revolution
will not be televised

will commercial breaks
be slammed by poets
cn i feed my children
this week
on writing alone

what will change
in national week of poetry
tell me

they humour us
with tourist trickery
bt every day / we
fight / the poetic illiteracy
of the good citizens
of this fine literacity

what will change
in national week of poetry
will the flinders street
shoe shine man
de-scuff me for free
like he does for presidents
& famous people
if i commit a crime / will
there be poetic immunity
instead of tour de france
will people prop their eyes past
midnight / for marathons of poetry
tell me / what will change
in the national week of poetry
will people recognise us on the street
& beg for autographs by way of
rhyming couplets / will
we book out gigs
crash our blog servers
& sell out books
cn we stand & say
my name is such & such
& I’m a poet
without the fear
that someone backs away
or rolls eyes in mockery

would national veggie week
make all three year olds
scream for broccoli


Thanks Maxine 🙂

12 thoughts on “Visiting Poem (Maxine Beneba Clarke)

Add yours

  1. hear hear! here the same thing. it’s hard to earn a living with authentic work, yet there are lots of “programs” who presumably dont presume too much but always end up using the entire operation for political funding, which would be cool if used to actually fund the arts but no, that part keeps grinding while these guys put up really badlooking buildings to house their operations

  2. This is brilliant. I had the same reaction as Val to “poetic immunity”. “people (will not) prop their eyes past midnight” but those of us who love language will feel enriched by works of art such as this, Maxine

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