In post-Brexit Britain, as political leaders tumble and old certainties are shaken, this is a question I find myself asking more than once every day. In another (non-poetic) guise, I've written about what I think is really going on here, but things are moving so fast, any substantial judgement still seems premature. We can't see history while we're making it, or while others are making it for us.
What does poetry do here? There are a couple of interesting projects up and running where poets respond directly to contemporary events: over at The Fat Damsel and a rejuvenated New Boots and Pantisocracies. I've written a few pieces in this vein myself in the past, as evidenced in part by this blog, but I'm finding that the general atmosphere of upheaval is seeping into my writing in more oblique ways at the moment, so that I don't think I have it in me to write a poem directly in response to current events. Instead, a rather odd and fantastical sequence is emerging with the title Scare Stories, which may or may not see the light of day in due course.
Luckily, I have the distraction of some summer readings to look forward to. July is quite a packed month in this respect.
On Monday 18, I'll be reading at Leicester Shindig, from 19.30, in the company of Claire Walker and others at The Western, 70 Western Road, Leicester LE3 0GA. There's an open mic, so please come along and share your work!
On Friday 22, I'll be reading with other Gloucestershire-based poets at Waterstones Birmingham, courtesy of Cheltenham Poetry Festival (full details below).
On Tuesday 26, I'll be reading with Daniel Sluman at Poetry Bites in Kings Heath, Birmingham (full details here), also including open mic.
On Thursday 28, I'll be reading at Words and Ears in Bradford on Avon with Rachael Clyne (see full details below).