Another poem

The other day pigeonhed posted some really interesting stuff about the curricular proposals in England as to the set reading list.  His original post detailing the list of saved and threatened authors is here with a second thread asking who should be on the list.  I commented at the time as follows,

“There is an interesting comment by John Sutherland about the list of those not at risk. There is one Scot, the others English (for “English” literature a little unbalanced given the influence of the subcontinent, Irish writers &c). Additionally the lists are novel-heavy ignoring poetry and (Shakespeare aside) the great dramatists.

“Through personal choice I am against prescription to a great degree, more a list of the recommended. Perhaps we could trust the teachers. It is surely sensible to respond to the class, its interest and what other works have been successful. Further certainn books cry out to be read at certain times. In the contemporary climate Nineteen eighty four should be looked at in most classes I would have thought.

“At my secondary school in southern Scotland during my English classes in first to fourth year I was encouraged to read a selection of post 1914 writers including Owen, Golding, Greene, Waugh, Plath, Hughes, Gunn, AUden, Morgan, MacCaig, Edwin Morgan, Tom Leonard, William McIlvanney, Robin Jenkins, Arthur Miller, Stoppard, Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, Jim Kelman, Rushdie (an O grade project involved consideration of Shame), Orwell, le Carre, Wyndham, and Harper Lee (of the top of my head – there may have been others). Many of the texts were considered for the class as a whole, some for individuals within the class – based on their interests and ability (my teacher recommended various Golding books after I explained how much I’d enjoyed the Inheritors and having enjoyed a Graham Greene novel he had a few of us reading Le Carre).”

Tom Leonard is a Glasgow poet.  His work was taught in my school although I understand that my teacher was unusual in teaching Leonard and Kelman because of the swearie words in the books.  However, the teacher, a great man named Walter McCall, father of Ian McCall the current Queen of the South football manager, trusted us – and we trusted him.  Leonard is someone that deserves to be better known.  His work is referred to in Alasdair Gray’s Lanark and he was published in a collection with Jim Kelman in his early days. 

Much of his work is published in small pamphlets and has a strong political element.  His early work is collected in a great book, “Intimate Voices” – hard to come by now, but well worth it.

At p 88 of Intimate Voices is Unrelated Incidents (3)

Unrelated Incidents 

this is thi
six a clock
news thi
man said n
thi reason
a talk wia
BBC accent
iz coz yi
widny wahnt
mi ti talk
aboot thi
trooth wia
voice lik
wanna yoo
scruff. if
a toktaboot
thi trooth
lik wanna yoo
scruff yi
widny thingk
it wuz troo.
jist wanna yoo
scruff tokn.
thirza right
way ti spell
ana right way
ti tok it. this
is me tokn yir
right way a
spellin. this
is ma trooth.
yooz doant no
thi trooth
yirsellz cawz
yi canny talk
right. this is 
the six a clock 
nyooz. belt up.

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in poems, tom leonard, Uncategorized, unrelated incidents 3. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Another poem

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wattie McCall
    was indeed ahead of his time in teaching Kelman and leonard. They’re still not taught as far as I can make out. He was a good laugh too. I taught History in Annan Academy when he was there.

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