Published: 28/09/2015
ISBN: 9781784623647
Format: Paperback

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About the Author

EDUCATION AND CAREER I was educated near Lincoln at North Hykeham Primary School, 1945 - 51; at Carre's Grammar School, Sleaford, 1951 - 58; and at Leeds University, 1958 - 64. I have a degree in mo... read more

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A Pre-Modernist Manifesto
Poetry and Prose for Pleasure, Pain and Profit
by Mike Pantling

A Pre-Modernist Manifesto is a collection of poetry and prose that focuses on three fundamental aspects of life – pleasure, pain and profit. The poems for pleasure and pain are principally concerned with the highs and lows of everyday living which are part of our common humanity. In contrast, the poems for profit are avowedly political and are topical in the context of the recent call by Tristram Hunt for a revival of left-wing history.

Some of our photographs betray
The qualms I suffered on the day
I gave my first-born child away,
Watching her walk in bridal dress
Towards an untried tenderness.
But later photographs attest
That shes laid all my fears to rest,
And that her loving heart knew best.
Thus, when our children make their choice,
We should trust nature, and rejoice.

This unique collection provides examples of the construction and appreciation of traditional poetry and adopts the socialist approach to writing history pioneered by J. L. & B. Hammond. Based on fact and fictional elements from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day, A Pre-Modernist Manifesto will appeal to lovers of traditional poetry and prose.

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These have been very well received by both family and friends, but their comments are hardly objective, unlike those of the prize-winning poet who produced 4 sides of A4. I give below some of her most positive points.
POEMS FOR PLEASURE A Love Poem for my Wife¬ : Charming sentiments, so well expressed. Technically clever, it rhymes and scans. Overall pleasing subject matter.

A Fishy Tale : Title a lovely play on words. A delightful and inventive story, greatly enjoyable.

A Poem for Rebecca’s Seventeenth Christmas : Presents a charming picture of Rebecca. Presents her character through description, imagery, and good modern language. ‘And she can eye-ball hands-high horses’.

James the First : Great title! Good detail. The observations about the movements of the baby’s feet create a really clear image as does the simile about the fledgeling. Delightful concluding metaphor.

The Ghost of the Ancient Mariner: Follows on admirably in the footsteps of the original.

Cogito, Ergo Sum: Some provoking thoughts under the light verse, but ultimately humour triumphs.

Doing Right by our Children : A very good summation of the subject matter outlined in the notes. Good, modern language which nonetheless maintains the high tone suitable for the theme.

Reflections on the Death of a Daughter of Friends : This is an admirably honest poem, beautifully written. We recognize ourselves, mirrored in your words.

Senile Dementia : Well observed. I find the prose notes far more moving.
Welcome My Night : Good for you. This works - certainly for me.

A Vindication of Early Miners : Tony,one of my former colleagues, (now Doctor) A. Pickersgill, read the earliest completed draft in 2005, and commented that he had ‘enjoyed it very much, particularly, of course, for the Old Labour sentiments’, though he thought this kind of history is now ignored or forgotten. Tony is a local Labour Party Branch Secretary. One of his friends who lectured in English thought the poet had ‘a marvellous facility for versification’ : he had enjoyed the poem though he did not share the standpoint. A second former colleague wished that he ‘could versify so fluently and at such length’.

The Dreamscape History of the Early English State in Verse : 0n 12/5/13 Tristram Hunt, the Labour M.P. for Stoke Central and a former historian, published an article in the Observer in which he lamented the present dominance of right-wing history as personified by Niall Ferguson, David Starkey, and Dominic Sandbrook. He argued that the left-wing interpretation formerly fostered by E.P.Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill and Asa Briggs had been subverted by post-modernism, by a concentration on the sins of colonialism, and by recent trends in the national system of education. He called for some rocket-boosters for the progressive voice in historical debate. Both my long poems may be seen as part of the socialist tradition in both history and literature. I would not expect Tristram to wholly agree with my analysis of the pitfalls involved in the writing of history, though in an email to me (3/6/2013) he said he particularly liked my analysis of how the class structure began to be developed. Additionally, he thought my poem on the early miners was ‘very good at conveying poetically the historical physical reality of the conditions many miners had to face during the industrial revolution’.


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