Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Poetry and money, it'll never catch on

Poets are poor - they live in garrets or poorly-heated bedsits in the worst parts of town. They cry in their empty rooms at night while they drink themselves to sleep with the cheapest of Hungarian reds. Rich poets - a rare and dangerous species - generally die during trans-continental swimming expeditions, fired by their own hubris and the most expensive of Hungarian reds.

This is what history teaches us. And yet Academi - the academy of Welsh literature - is ploughing ahead with their offer of a £5,000 prize for the winning poet in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition.

While we at Welsh Icons decry and deplore this doomed conjunction of the greatest of the literary arts and cold hard cash, we feel it's our duty to tell you about it.

Entry forms are scattered around the libraries and bookshops of Wales, and, as ever, full details are available at Academi's website - another wasted endeavour; poets can't afford computers and shy away from the web, preferring instead to scrawl their depraved musings in school exercise books or meet in small, unloved groups in the back rooms of dingy pubs who hope against hope that the cachet they win by hosting these meetings will make up for the dismal bar takings.

Proceed at your own peril and don't come crying to us when the Cardiff Bay lock gates are choked with bodies.

Pictured: Academi president Peter Finch - a poet, he should know better.


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