It is about working in poetry

Mick Heron refers to “…anything for a sausage roll poets.” A nod to (or at) the futile? Of course, he is right. But, I can make my own sausage rolls and do not need to compete with BAe or BP for a seriously-beyond-sausage-roll piece of the public purse to grift my my writing. So it is vanity, then? Not just. The first thing I need to do is, for once, be a good boss to myself. I have learned, about working for people, that good bosses don’t appeal to my (or their) vanity: positive or negative. There is a job. Do it or fuck off. They work as hard as they expect their staff to work and understand what you can be capable of, for good or ill. They don’t expect perfect. They expect a good professional account with reflection about how to do it “better” next time. So if my job is writing poems to be read AND heard, I need to get them audible and visible. There needs to be a trajectory… more… better… readers… listeners getting it: truth is allusive, seen squint and broken. And, the opposition is everywhere. Sometimes, they have sausage rolls.


I am going to be leading a workshop on “Investigating teaching in your discipline” next Wednesday. The outline is attached to this page (below).

Discipline is an interesting word, which we often use without reflecting on the complex valency of meanings that it bears. I have been reading Foucault’s Discipline and Punish in preparation for the workshop.

Foucault sees discipline as largely a coercive function, with emphasis on that part of its semantic field that is about correction. And, while the corrective function has largely been polished up (or at least rolled in glitter) and sanitised by the academy for use as a synonym for “field of study”, much of the structure of domination and normalisation still lies below the surface of our academic disciplines.

Discipline… is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets… And it may be taken over… by institutions that use it as an essential instrument for a particular end (schools, hospitals)… (Foucault, 1977: 215)

Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. (A. Sheridan, Tran.). London: Allen Lane, Penguin.