Thursday, May 28, 2009

Put off by Padel's poetry

I initially thought that the title of Ruth Padel's (aka The poet formerly known as Oxford Professor of Poetry) poem "Survival of the Fittest", from her collection Darwin: A Life in Poems, was somewhat ... suboptimal. After all, the phrase (coined by Herbert Spencer, not Darwin, even though the latter adopted it in later versions of On the Origin of Species) is not exactly the most appropriate metaphor to describe the principle of natural selection.

But now that I've watched a video of Padel reading from her work (and in a yurt, too) at the Hay festival I'm no longer so certain that this was merely a minor slip of the pen by a slightly ditsy lady sporting the medusaesque hair and dramatic eye make-up of expressionist movie stars. Sounds more like Padel, who is Darwin's great-great-granddaughter, has used her poetry for a wee spot of kin bitching. I don't know whether the other poems in the collection are in any way more ... astute than "Survival ..." (in one of them, apparently, she imagines Darwin's horny revery over a smutty painting), but somehow I can't be arsed asked to read them.


Francis Sedgemore said...

"...but somehow I can't be asked to read them."Oh please will you read them?

The Wife said...

Mistah Sedgemore - you live! (And cheerful and chirpy as ever).

Francis Sedgemore said...

Don't you dare call me Mistah, Frow Professer Docktor!

The Wife said...

At least I didn't call you "Master".

Sometimes I get emails from students calling me "Miss". Very sweet.