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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

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

Recordings

Ian McMillan Reading from his Poems

Tall in the Saddle

1The Soft White Pillowcase Boys

2Pushed Home when the Clouds were still Raw

3From the Section Dealing with the Loss of Grace

4The Tennis Ball Factory Poems

5The Meaning of Life

6SF Novel

7What Really Happened To The Buffalo

8For Me

9Why Are You Ringing

10Two Miners Pass in Opposite Directions at Daybreak

11The Texas Swing Boys' Dadaist Manifesto

12Resident

13Sessions

14Pushing, May 1984

15Coalpicking, Broomhill

16Visitors, Armthorpe August 1984

17Propp's Last Case

18Action

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

20Move

21The Photographer's Subject

22Just the Facts, Just the

23Simple Story

24Man in Hotel Room with Stolen Fork

25Against Realism

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

27Landing Practice

28The Prince of Wales visits Alnwick

29Cracking Icicles in Totley Tunnel

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