Dear Tuesday Poem - I'm sorry. Poetry has been ground down under life's jackboot heels this week. My livelihood - and that of many people I know - is under assault on both fronts. It's more than just personal, however. It's about our society, our culture and our civilisation. Because that's what you should be talking about when you talk about education and the Arts - culture and civilisation.
Post-secondary education in Australia has become a business, with providers worried about nominal student hours and how to streamline courses so that as little teaching is done as possible for the maximum government funding. This replaces any idea of excellence in education. Naturally the Arts have no place in this business model.
On the writing front as we all know, the book industry from publishing to selling, is in the doldrums. Doldrums is a comic sounding word, capable of cheering up a grumpy, tired toddler if said with appropriate facial expressions. Unfortunately, there's little comedy happening and I'm not a toddler, but a grown woman with talents and years of working experience which are fast becoming at best, severely under-paid, and, at worst, redundant.
Normally I'm more optimistic than this. But today, poetry feels like a luxury I can't afford and anyway, the poem I want to write has already been written by writer and educator, Grace Paley. Her view on education was that, 'children—by writing, by putting down words, by reading, by beginning to love literature, by the inventiveness of listening to one another—could begin to understand the world better and to make a better world for themselves.'
Apparently that's now an old-fashioned view.
Dear Grace Paley. I have always loved your astringency and the sharp observations you made of our crowded, chaotic, struggling lives.
With unreportable sadness