Words of a Kind

Stephen Morris
1979, Vol. 11, No. 2,

Abstract


Over the past few years I've discovered to my amazement and often em barrassment, just how out of touch different levels of education are with each other. Perhaps it has been more apparent to me, as for the past ten years I have worked in what arguably could be termed the 'freest' form of education in the country, i.e. in the Faculty of Art and Design of a Polytechnic. Venturing out into schools and other seats of learning has for me at times been rather akin to visiting another planet.

It would be fair to say that the problem has been emphasised though - by one particular area of my creative work that I've been engaged in, namely experimental poetry. Feeling free, as indeed I should be in any artistic pursuit that I undertake, I have experimented with words and images with, it seems disastrous effects. This naturally has offended the purists in some Departments of English Literature in Universities, but what I hadn't bargained for was the reactions of some teachers on the shop floor of education. My subjects range far wider than just literary and visual experimentation, for I have taken subjects which are, I've discovered, frighteningly taboo. These of course include the hairy old chestnuts of sex, politics and religion. In my complacent belief that all those Victorian barriers had finally been smashed and destroyed in those glorious sunshine days of the nineteen-sixties, I pointed my artistic machine gun in any direction I thought fit. The echoes of dissent and reaction still pound on my eardrums for, having accepted invitations to read and show my work in schools and colleges, I realise, with hindsight, that there lurks in the most unexpected places, sobering condemnation.


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