Philippa Rees

The Market

Part 1. Mission Statement.

Poetry is solemn trade
So candle dark that we Company of Editors
hang back
Hoping that others will invest before we
venture capital
No mass without perambulation
Let’s wait to spear the sainted Bull
We’ll join the chorus in good time
to ride the rising tide of absolution

Don’t rush the responses
Our expertise is not for experiments
in dismal rhyme, or rhythms with a soul-beat
We like it ineffable; to leave room
for our perception and of course our long acquired acumen.
After all the authorised version’s by Yeats
If Auden sings descant, and I can’t nail Eliot
Take it as a signal of modesty.
The matter is subjective.

We have our rules:
New fishers of men must prove themselves
By taking bait on lines, elsewhere
Anything discarded we reject
Anything landed we won’t touch
Without the intercession of an intermediary
That protects our public
From the circling sharks;
The questionable authors.

They and the agents can follow the wake
Dive deep in shoals, for tossed out scraps.
Subscribe the children’s dinner money
For the prize we will award
To names that seem to ring a bell.
They are welcome to participate;
We are not a narrow faith;
Nor a monopoly
Merely discerning.

2. Guidelines

A word of advice
Do not attempt noble sentiment
Or perennial truth; we’ve had a belly-full of both.
Put it this way
Salieri can be passed off as a discovery
Mozart is more difficult.

Be younger than thirty; write pell-mell
Genius and Precocity partner well
Keep it as short as a sound-bite
The limited page; can’t argue with that
Avoid philosophy or expertise
What’s Greek about the Peloponnese?
Even Pythagoras found thinking a bore
Go with the flow, but stop it spilling
Beyond the scrubbed pine to the cutting room floor

One thing is important:
Eschew beauty of tone
You’ll never be Keats; or rat-a-tat Owen...
Paint miniatures in detail; children sell
Scour the moon but Aga it well
The Lady of Shalott? She had a nose, eyes and chin...rather
Make something of a chamber pot a la Tracey Emin.

Philippa Rees © 2008