Sunday, 27 March 2011
Prose and Cons
The title of this post is misleading - it is actually about prose and poetry but who am I to resist a pun. And of course, there are no cons to writing! Among the many things I have learnt from an intellectual diet of Foucault this last year is the idea of 'epimelesthai seauton' - the care of the self. Rather than the more well-known gnothi seauton, meaning know thyself, to care for oneself depends upon a different set of principles. To care for yourself is to be acutely self-aware and, for the purposes of this winding intro, a key constituent is the need to write. To write your thoughts, anxieties, ailments, worries, woes, desires, sins, hopes, fears - everything.
I've only gone and done it haven't I?
This term I have found an engagement with knowledge so much more enjoyable for simply writing about everything. Essays and dissertation are, of course, prerequisites for the passing of the degree, that tiny obstacle, but through writing about writing the dissertation, for example, fresh ideas come flooding in.
I have always been a sporadic poet, usually only when being the angsty adolescent back in the Danum days, but have made a more concerted effort to write more and to write often. My old book of poems is unfit for human consumption, but I've been lucky with more recent things and have had a positive reception. I was honoured to have my poem 'Escape to the Orchard' judged the winning entry of the Elizabeth Fletcher Prize 2011, an annual award, funded by the parents of Elizabeth Fletcher, a former Homerton student who tragically died in a motor accident in 2006. The ceremony in Homerton was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I was humbled to meet Elizabeth's parents, and to have received their kind gift.
In terms of non-fiction writing, I weathered the turbulence of being a weekly columnist on Cambridge Tab, which I thoroughly enjoyed mostly because it bolstered my already inflated ego to know how many people were reading my scribbled reports of my essentially eventless life in the University. I have also been writing for a number of Cambridge magazines/journals about gender and sexualities, online and in paper copy: a few for Gender Agenda, the brilliant forum for feminism, gender, sexuality and anything related which is part of the CUSU Women's Campaign. I've also written for No Definition, which will be coming out (ha) early next term.
The final thing to report, I guess, is my crossed fingers about my prospects of getting published in The Mays XIX - I have submitted two poems, one comic-tragic and the other littered with wordplay, and a piece of unusual prose. I am being guarded about them now as they are considered anonymously, but will stick them up later if the judges fail to be enthralled by my nauseating imagery.
Posted by Joffer at 15:43