In the absence of inspiration – here’s one of my favourite poems
Production journalists don’t often get the treat of being done in poetry, so I have a soft spot for this one.
And while the internet can provide most things a newspaper can, the funny, punny, clever headlines just don’t work. I think this is quite sad and a generation of talented headline writers will soon find themselves with a skill no one wants.
It’s by poet laureate and all-round good egg, Carol Ann Duffy.
I hope she doesn’t mind that I’ve bunged it up here.
Carol, if you’re reading, I bought the book.
Poet for our Times
I write the headlines for a Daily Paper.
It’s just a knack one’s born with all-right-Squire.
You do not have to be an educator,
just bang the words down like they’re screaming Fire!
CECIL-KEAYS ROW SHOCK TELLS EYETIE WAITER.
ENGLAND FAN CALLS WHINGEING FROG A LIAR.
Cheers. Thing is, you’ve got to grab attention
with just one phrase as punters rush on by.
I’ve made mistakes too numerous to mention,
so now we print the buggers inches high.
TOP MP PANTIE ROMP INCREASES TENSION.
RENT BOY: ROCK STAR PAID ME WELL TO LIE.
I like to think that I’m a sort of poet
for our times. My shout. Know what I mean?
I’ve got a special talent and I show it
in punchy haikus featuring the Queen.
DIPLOMAT IN BED WITH SERBO-CROAT.
EASTENDERS’ BONKING SHOCK IS WELL-OBSCENE.
Of course, these days, there’s not the sense of panic
you got a few years back. What with the box
et cet. I wish I’d been around when the Titanic
sank. To headline that, mate, would’ve been the tops.
SEE PAGE 3 TODAY GENTS THEY’RE GIGANTIC.
KINNOCK-BASHER MAGGIE PULLS OUT STOPS.
And, yes, I have a dream — make that a scotch, ta —
that kids will know my headlines off by heart.
IMMIGRANTS FLOOD IN CLAIMS HEATHROW WATCHER.
GREEN PARTY WOMAN IS A NIGHTCLUB TART.
The poems of the decade . . . Stuff ’em! Gotcha!
The instant tits and bottom line of art.
I kind of get the impression she is not so keen on the tabloid poets. In which case she is a fool.