Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Poet Fisticuffs

I was reading an article recently about A.N.Wilson and his biography of English poet John Betjeman. In his book, Wilson included a copy of a letter that he had received from an anonymous source. Although sketchy in it's origins, the apparently authentic historical letter revealed a lusty and scandalous extra-marital romance. So excited in the discovery of his poet's affair... he printed it in his book.

He failed to notice that the first letter of each sentence of the vintage letter spells out "A. N. Wilson is a shit".

Poet fans suggest that rival Betjeman biographer Bevis Hillier might have been responsible, reporting that the envelope came from a stationer in Winchester, the southern English town where Hillier lives. Hillier denied involvement, but told newspapers he thinks Wilson is "despicable."

Ahh...poet fisticuffs.

A British writer was duped into printing a fake love letter in his latest biography -- complete with a coded four-letter insult aimed at him. It really put into perspective petty arguments and feuds. Especially ones that aim cleverly hidden insults.

I've been having one of these so-called petty feuds with a pal of mine for years now. There are times of silence, times of anger, and times of close friendship. But they're all marred by the cleverly hidden insults that we each pass to one other. These insults are aimed to kill - very specific, and very knowing of each others faults, insecurities, and weaknesses.

I can be pretty pointed in my jabs. However, I don't dodge and weave like a butterfly as much as I used to. He tends to get in more accurate bee stings as we progress. The more your friends know your weaknesses, and trigger words...the more likely they are to use them. And the less likely that reality is the reasoning behind the argument. Some things recently brought up are the furthest stretch from the truth...and the result of all this arguing? A 'break up' where there was no real friendship to begin with - only an illusion.

What to do? Some arguing time, maybe. Or just some alone time. Or maybe nothing to be done?

I think poet biographers A. N. Wilson and Bevis Hillier need to get together and have some arguing time. They need to hash it out, complete with fisticuffs if necessary. I predict that in the midst of their argument...there will suddenly be some passionate throw-down lovemaking. Because that's what poetry is all about, right?

Not that I'm saying my pal and I need to do that to make up. Despite the potential entertainment value, that would do some serious damage.

And I'm denying I sent him the letter saying he's a 'shit'. I'd come up with a better colorful metaphor. Love ya, mean it.

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