Last week I posted on Tony Harrison’s ‘A Cold Coming’. The following discussion of another extraordinary Tony Harrison poem originally appeared in book form in Tony Harrison: Loiner (Clarendon Press, 1997), edited by Sandie Byrne.
‘Them and [uz]’ – listen to Harrison read this poem here.
for Professors Richard Hoggart & Leon Cortez
αίαι, ay, ay! … stutterer Demosthenes
gob full of pebbles outshouting seas –
4 words only of mi ‘art aches and … ‘Mine’s broken,
you barbarian, T.W.!’ He was nicely spoken.
‘Can’t have our glorious heritage done to death!’
I played the Drunken Porter in Macbeth.
‘Poetry’s the speech of kings. You’re one of those
Shakespeare gives the comic bits to: prose!
All poetry (even Cockney Keats?) you see
‘s been dubbed by [Λs] into RP,
Received Pronunciation, please believe [Λs]
your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.’
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