And so, with the beginning of the New Year, comes the hated New Year’s resolutions. Will I actually bother to get out of bed for morning lectures? Will I finally join the Triathlon team in time to be a blue next Michaelmas? Will I even make a resolution to keep all these resolutions? Well, lovely people of Oxford, my resolution was to get people reading more poetry. That’s you. (Yes, you. Please at least try to look interested). It didn’t matter whose poetry I spread, or how people came across it… I just wanted to spread some literary love. And so, out of this horribly ambitious altruistic piece of self-punishment, ‘Ray’s Chapter & Worse’ was born. A veritable breeding ground for all things poetic (or that I fancy writing about, anyway) – a space to talk about, read and even share poetry of all kinds to break up the monotony of the Oxford schedule. What with the average student’s busy schedule of working, crying quietly into pillows and not sleeping, a short, weekly burst of poetry is the best thing to break the day up and to take your mind off that nagging feeling that someone, somewhere, is working when you’re not. Each week I’ll post up a piece of poetry by an established or emerging poet, and try to create tenuous links between it and daily Oxford life. I’ll be taking suggestions for poems to look at, as well as your own submissions from any budding Oxford poets, and will post up one or two new poems each week: so please send your poetry in to us at ‘email@example.com’ for a chance of having it published on the world famous* (*if your world is Oxford) Cherwell Blogs’ website. Let’s be honest, it’s better than that lecture you told yourself you were going to go to.
Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
By Wendy Cope
It was a dream I had last week
And some kind of record seemed vital.
I knew it wouldn’t be much of a poem
But I love the title.
I’ve always loved Wendy Cope’s poetry – endlessly funny, sardonic, and often with a much darker edge, she never fails to entertain. Mastering the art of short, witty poetry is deceptively difficult – like a thunderclap, it has to announce itself, light up its surroundings with a flash, and then vanish again without a trace. ‘Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis’ is one of my favourites as it is such a brilliant anti-climax – it’s the title of her first poetry collection and yet is at the very end of the book. The build-up, which is then magnificently flattened within four short lines that seem almost jotted down as an afterthought, seem similar to my own New Year resolutions: lots of promises, then complete panic when Hilary hits. We can promise ourselves we’ll be the perfect model student, go to every single lecture, and avoid making passive aggressive essay comments in tutorials – but when it comes down to it, we just have to throw ourselves in, and try and stay afloat. So jump back into that maelstrom of 0th week, try and get most essays in on time, get drunk slightly too much- and send your work in to Ray’s Chapter & Worse (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be published on our salubrious website.