Poem introduction

'For Me' is about when I first started running writing workshops. It always seemed to me that half-way through the workshop, somebody would say "For me, if it doesn't rhyme, it's not a poem", and I thought, right:

For Me

For me,
if it's not got rockers
it's not a chair.
It's just a pile of sticks,
and you can pick a pile of sticks up
on the street

For me,
if there's no flaps on the pockets
it's not a suit.
It's just a piece of cloth,
and you can pick a piece of cloth up
on the street.

For me,
if you can't lock it
it's not a briefcase,
it's just a bit of leather,
and you can pick a bit of leather up
on the street

So here's me,
rocking backwards and forwards on my chair,
flapping the flaps on my suit,
locking and unlocking my briefcase,
and trying to sick a splat of rhyme
on my verse to make it complete.

And you can't fault that:
it's neat.


from How the Hornpipe Failed (Rivelin Grapheme, 1984), copyright © Ian McMillan 1984, used by permission of the author

Where next?

Recordings

Ian McMillan

Ian McMillan Reading from His Poems

1The Soft White Pillowcase Boys

£0.89

2Pushed Home when the Clouds were still Raw

£0.89

3From the Section Dealing with the Loss of Grace

£0.89

4The Tennis Ball Factory Poems

£0.89

5The Meaning of Life

£0.89

6SF Novel

£0.89

7What Really Happened To The Buffalo

£0.89

8For Me

£0.89

9Why Are You Ringing

£0.89

10Two Miners Pass in Opposite Directions at Daybreak

£0.89

11The Texas Swing Boys' Dadaist Manifesto

£0.89

12Resident

£0.89

13Sessions

£0.89

14Pushing, May 1984

£0.89

15Coalpicking, Broomhill

£0.89

16Visitors, Armthorpe August 1984

£0.89

17Propp's Last Case

£0.89

18Action

£0.89

19From an Evening with the Model of "The Venus and the Shaving Brushes"

£0.89

20Move

£0.89

21The Photographer's Subject

£0.89

22Just the Facts, Just the

£0.89

23Simple Story

£0.89

24Man in Hotel Room with Stolen Fork

£0.89

25Against Realism

£0.89

26Some Poetry Presses I Will Certainly Set Up In The Next Three Weeks

£0.89

27Landing Practice

£0.89

28The Prince of Wales visits Alnwick

£0.89

29Cracking Icicles in Totley Tunnel

£0.89

31Kake Yourself Comfortable

32Why We Need Libraries

33Pit Closure as Art

34Lilian's Poem

35Husband and Wife

36Tempest Avenue

37Deaths from Ice-Cream

38Ted Hughes is Elvis Presley

39Visit

40Poem Occasioned by the High Incidence of Suicide amongst the Unemployed

41Song for Roof Building (Collected in South Yorkshire Light Industry Park, Barnsley)

42Moon River: Lives of the Great Comedians

43Henry's Skeleton, George's Leg

44Jesus Died from Eating Curtains

45Stone, I Presume

46Still Life Life

47Realism (Nothing Is Ever Finished)

48Dad, the Donkey's On Fire

Books by Ian McMillan