Friday, June 3, 2011

Satire and Trim Swift Festival

Less than a month to go to the Trim Swift Festival and satire is on my mind. Swift was a master of course in prose pieces such as the well-known A Modest Proposal but also much of his verse in elegant rhyming couplets. Somehow satire in poetry should be like his, with lots of ingenuous rhymes.

This is the start of Swift's The Lady's Dressing Room

Five Hours, (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in Dressing;
The Goddess from her Chamber issues,
Array'd in Lace, Brocades and Tissues.

The Battle of the Books is the immediate concern. This annual satire competition between our group and the other group has become an important fixture in the festival. We won the first year, the others last year so this year's contest assumes an added importance. Not that we care who wins you understand, it's the taking part that matters.

I wrote a rhyming take on the Celtic Tiger Recession Blues for the first contest and last year a sonnet satire subtitled A Typical Ulster Lyric. Both worked well but this year I'm going to try some prose - don't tell the others mind.

At our Boyne Writers Group meeting Thursday evening we listened to the first versions of our efforts and very impressive they were too. Variety is what we're after with satirical attacks on some less obvious targets. Confidence is growing among us. The others meanwhile have been keeping very quiet about their preparations in their various blogs and blogs and blogs. Hmmm I wonder what they're up to.

Of course the question always is Is it satire? I can't really explain what satire is but I think I can recognise it when I hear or read it. I bought a second-hand copy of The Penguin Book of Satirical Verse in the Oxfam bookshop in Oxford last week but it's not much help - very little 20th century stuff in it. I'll enjoy reading it when I get time.

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