Archive for the ‘grandola vila morena’ Category

As we come marching, marching (review of ‘Little Red Poetry’)

February 25, 2014

A review of Andrew Walton’s Little Red Poetry by Dave Gorton

For too long, poetry has been seen as the property of the well-educated or the middle classes, an idea happily perpetuated by capitalism which, for its own survival, needs to ensure the working class ‘knows its place’. Many poets’ use of sometimes anarchic structures and styles leaves such poetry less easily ‘interpreted’ and certainly outside of the very rigid constraints of the national curriculum. Poetry in schools is reduced to learning and reciting poems by heart, which becomes a chore.

Yet, literature would be a much less rich field without, for instance, the likes of Shelley’s calls to arms in the 19th century, Sassoon’s war poems, Brecht’s socialism, or more recently the sheer imagery and force engendered by the great, but now both sadly late, Norman MacCaig and Seamus Heaney.

Andrew Walton, a Leicester Socialist Party member, has just published his own short collection and it is definitely worth picking up a copy. Drew – as he is probably better known to readers – says Little Red Poetry argues for socialism and it does indeed. The collection includes poems on a host of issues such as the bedroom tax, an EDL march in Leicester and Unite, Falkirk and the need for a new workers’ party.

His views will be shared by most readers of The Socialist but Drew uses his talent to describe his anger in a different way than the majority of us would in, say, writing a leaflet.

Take his verses on the dismantling of the welfare state:-
Millions of workers that once were employed
Building, making – lie idle. Stage by stage:
Confidence shattered, despair unalloyed.

or in Triple Dip:-
Something is wrong, when the future of millions
Is described as if we were fruit in a yoghurt,
Or sticks of chocolate in an ice-cream pot.

In Mutually Assured Destruction, Drew’s stanza:
There is another way
Not wasteful profiteering
But dialogue, co-operation,
Democracy, solidarity,
Community and sharing.

highlights the alternative to capitalism in beautiful simplicity.

And his modern ‘re-writing’ of Grandola Vila Morena – the song of the 1974 Portuguese Revolution – is very bold … but it works. The powerful final stanza, like the rest of the collection, signals the writer’s unshakeable confidence in the working class to overcome the yoke of capitalism:
In the spirit of nineteen-seventy-four,
We, the masses, are rising once more.
We shudder the seats of power;
Millions are singing our tune.

It would seem churlish, particularly as I can’t string two verses together, to be overly critical of Drew’s efforts but this is a review so….

While he is certainly not the worst protagonist I’ve read, once or twice, the rhyming in some poems seems forced and unnatural (though I hadn’t needed to have been as wary as I was when I read the line in Why I didn’t watch the royal wedding following “Or paying for the Queen to float down the Thames on a barge, like a gigantic duck”).

And it would be interesting to read some longer pieces (hopefully the next collection, eh Drew?).

But I do think this is a fantastic effort and one that should be more widely publicised and read.

Thanks go to Dave Gorton, for reviewing my efforts! I am in the process of writing another collection on the environment and socialism, to be called Little Green Poetry.

You can read some more of my poetry in ‘Little Red Poetry’. All proceeds go to build a new party for ordinary people, against cuts and privatisation. Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Copies are also available from Left Books

New anthology launched – In Protest: New Human Rights Poetry

October 1, 2013


My poem on the Carnation Revolution has been chosen as part of an anthology of Human Rights Poems, launched by the University of London on 20th October.

The launch will take place in the Beveridge Hall (ground floor) at Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU at 6pm, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival as part of a whole series of events related to the theme of human rights and refuge organised by the School of Advanced Study. This event will be preceded by a human rights poetry slam which has been organized by Keats House Poets, which you would be very welcome to attend if of interest.

Poet and writer Ruth Padel and philanthropist and publisher Sigrid Rausing will speak at the launch, and there will be readings from a variety of contributors to the publication, after which there will be an opportunity to buy the publication at the special discounted rate of £5.00.


You can read more of my poetry in ‘Little Red Poetry’: all proceeds go to help build an alternative political party to fight cutbacks and privatisation. Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.