Finished copies of Kevin Eldon’s short biography of his cousin, the poet Paul Hamilton, are just in (due for publication on 7th August).
My Prefect Cousin charts the rollercoaster ride of a life dedicated to verse: the emotional highs, the plumbed depths. It also contains for the very first time on the printed page, Shadows of Reflections, the collection of poems Hamilton spent years trying to place. Here is a sneak preview of one of these poems - The Not So Great Dictator.
The Not So Great Dictator
Mao! Mao! Where are you now, Mao?
Cat got your tongue?
Chairman, you weren’t a fair man.
You turned communism into conyouism
And now your Little Red Book is a little-read book.
As the people did cower the poisonous shower
from the cloud of your power killed liberty’s flower.
I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty. They used lots of sports metaphors (doing an end run, Monday morning quarterbacking, and so on), with legal jargon thrown in for good measure. I suggested that this was not a particularly welcoming trait in their school, that in fact it was sexist, but they paid little attention. I made my point by speaking for about five minutes in dressmaking terms: putting a dart in here, a gusset there, cutting the budget on the bias so it would be more flexible, using a peplum to hide a course that might be controversial. The women in the room laughed; the men did not find it humorous….Language is power, make no mistake about it. It is used to include and exclude and to keep people and systems in their places.
Frances E. Kendall, Understanding White Privilege (via brute-reason)