The #derangedpoetess debate seemed to me important on several levels. It wasn’t only that Oliver Thring seemed to me to be condescending to Sarah Howe as a poet and an academic, nor that he dismissed a lot of reasoned and specific criticism as the work of ‘deranged poetesses’. The very fact that such an interview of a prize-winning poet – the equivalent of a who made your dress to an Oscar winning actor – was deemed appropriate in a serious literary column is demeaning to poetry itself. It implies that the readers of The Times cannot be assumed to be interested in the actual poems, and have to be sweetened with discussions about the pretty girl’s nice house and family background.
If you would like an example of how I wish Thring had treated the subject, here is the equivalent column in The Honest Ulsterman.
The meme on twitter is a distant memory now, but the issues remain, and I know a lot of people are still engaged in the debate. Some of us wore paper stickers at StAnza, but I wanted something more permanent. So I asked my daughter NMRimmer to design me some artwork, and she has posted it on Redbubble so that it can be printed on demand, if anyone would like it –
You can get heavy duty stickers, at reasonable prices, but also, redbubble being what it is, mugs and posters and laptop cases.
However, I have also had some button badges printed.
I got a hundred done, relatively cheaply, and I will take a pocketfull wherever I go, and give them to people, if they’d like one – at least until this batch runs out. This means Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow in the near future, but I’ll also give some to Sheila Wakefield so that Newcastle people can get some too. I’m willing to post them to people who will send me their address, but as it would cost about £1 even for a single one, perhaps you might request a few to pass around?
If there’s still demand when the first batch is done, I’d be willing to reorder, but would have to charge 30p for each of them