Saturday, June 6, 2009

Poetry is, like, you know?

This is a response to an article in another blog.

Tim Jones, writer and poet, suggested in a recent blog that an interesting way to promote poetry in the public consciousness would be to make a Project Runway style 'reality' TV show ... which he called Poetry Runway. You can read his very funny take on the idea here.

I'm no poet, but I think I may have watched more trash TV than Tim in recent months. I say watch, but I try to pretend I don't. I sit at my computer editing while it's on the background. I even say disparaging comments to my wife like ... "You're not going to watch this rubbish, are you?" But then I pay enough attention to know what happens. In defense of my wife, she spends a large amount of her time feeding our wee boy at the moment, and so trash 'reality' TV is a welcome distraction for her when she tires of reading.

So, with my new-found expertise on reality shows I can suggest to Tim that his show treatment needs something. No offense, but poets as a group are not the most televisual of people. So why not take a leaf from the Beauty and the Geek scripts and pair each poet with a beautiful, and probably vacuous, model of opposite sexuality. Poet and the Muse?

If the poets are forced to train up their model-muses so they can perform the poems the show will have tension, embarrassment and its fair share of semi-naked oiled flesh. In one challenge the poets would be required to write a sonnet to their muse, but the muse is allowed to read it to anyone in the house they desire.

Cat-fights ensue. One poet deliberately sabotages their verse so it insults rather than celebrates it intended target. Another inserts tongue-twisters in their work just to annoy their vapid muse. Over cigarettes and scotch late one night three of the poets realize they are chasing the same model. They never speak to each other civilly again. Somehow one of the poets ends up on the roof, drunkenly reciting lines from Byron. When rescued by a local fire crew a new romance blooms and one of the firemen becomes a surprise house guest.

The models are all forced to write a haiku relating the lessons they have learnt in the house. Just watching them trying to count to five, then seven, then five is must-see TV. A humorous misunderstanding over the word quatrain leaves one of the models stranded at a railway station. Another model confuses syllables with cymbals, but performs a great little musical number wearing only a thong. The winning team seals the deal with a canzone about calzone, using a mix-up to their advantage with an amazing performance that includes a pizza-themed bikini. ...

All I ask, Tim, is an executive producer credit, and the cash that goes with it.


  1. How does that Pet Shop Boys song go? "I've got the brains, you've got the looks, let's make lots of money." For services to poetry, you deserve a QSM, but I plan to reserve all the Executive Producer credits for members of my entourage, once I acquire one. How about Key Grip?

  2. Hmm. Do I get free go at the catering table?