Into the Ordinary

#Poetry, is an #expression of #beauty.

The #poet transforms the #ordinary into the #extraordinary, #revealing hidden #depths, and #enlightens...

Are we through 140 characters yet?

Excuse the opening, but this blog feeds to twitter, and much as I loath twitter, I am told I must have it for marketing.

In a recent post I mentioned the art of the ordinary - I can't link to post, as the links here don't work on my goodreads blog, which is also linked to this blog. I like goodreads more than twitter,and again I am told I must have it for marketing. Excuse the post-modernist revealing of structure in these asides.I realise the irony of saying I can't post links because of the goodreads blog, and then posting a link to the goodreads blog, but I figure if you are reading the goodreads blog, you won't follow a link to the goodreads blog. Did I mention the goodreads blog? I'm told I need it for marketing.


Contained within the cliche of art, poetry, being an expression of beauty, the transformation of the ordinary into the extraordinary, the revelation is of hidden depths, is the question, why? Why does the ordinary require change?Why can't it just be observed for what it is?

Vermeer understood this question. Practitioners of logomography, in it's purest sense, apply it all the time.

The second element of the art of the ordinary is humour.

The obvious example is the Magritte painting, Ceci n'est pas une pipe, in which a hyper realistic portrayal of a pipe is presented above a caption declaring that it isn't. A little joke.

But let us go back to Vermeer, and his painting of the milkmaid. The image is shocking in it's simplicity, it's depiction of what is there, and for it's time the humbleness of the subject. There is no allegory, no referencing of great events or peoples. Yet look at the window. Whilst it is an ordinary window, it can also be seen as a perspective screen. A knowing wink. A little joke, that we should be viewing the milkmaid from outside of the house, voyeuristically, from above.

The third element is seeing things that are not seen because we see them everyday.

In the examples above, there is the pipe, the milk maid, the mouse trap. And in lomography the unframed and unfocused image of the peripheral vision, that our brain filters out, just as in the cocktail effect.

1 ½ mugfulls of water
7 teaspoons of sugar
citric acid
flavourings carried on a gm base:
can design hinting at health.

Most American women do not know,
if at the present moment,
they are wearing stockings or tights.
The product will be placed
directly in the eye line of seven year old girls.
Married women, having lost the sex drive,
look to younger role models.
Married women, having lost the sex drive
don’t care if they have a bit of a gut.
Your product will be placed in aisle seven
so any good intention at healthy eating
has long since gone by the board,
due in part to the bleating of the seven-year-old girl.
Target group favourite colour is chocolate.

Target Percentage of Population
Enough to make a killing.

Convert the chemical works
from polypropylene production.
Choose a song by someone cool.
Charge 82p.

In another life I was told that for reasons of my job, I was writing for a business magazine, that I should sign up to be sent a daily marketing report. The report consisted of various statements, which when pieced together were supposed to inform, and enrich. I used one of these snippets as the hook for the poem, namely the supposed fact that most American women, it was @63% , didn't know when asked if they were wearing stockings or tights.

Which in itself is quite a good little joke.

And no doubt someone has used the information to make money. Despite the statement making no sense. As tights in America are not the same thing as in Britain, and frankly why would any woman answer this question? It's none of anyone's business.

Another thing that struck me about these reports was the sheer cynicism of the information. But then, anyone who has ever shopped in a supermarket will understand this implicitly. Or indeed has read a women's magazine. Supermarkets are positively saintly in their marketing compared with the messaging targeted at women through 'their' media. The editorials might speak of empowerment and the triumph of woman, but the ads are for plastic surgery, quick fixes and generally to buy stuff to make you better. Speak of which. I am told that women's magazines are banned from psychiatric some wards as they hinder recovery due to the poor self image they promote.

Obviously the poem has V-effect and duality. How could it not?... how dare a man be a feminist!....but it also has the required three elements of the art of the ordinary: it focuses on what is - the cynicism of marketing, without resort to artifice, obfuscation or pretension -, it has little jokes - favourite colour chocolate -, and it shows what is seen but not seen - the careful placement of  goods, the objectification of the individual, the enforcement of guilt.

It's also an example of the poetry of hate. But more on grotesques at a later date.

Cue random picture to make the Facebooks less bland....