The Curmudgeon


Monday, November 21, 2011

Then Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill

An academy in Leeds has put up a mural showing Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Mrs Schofield's GCSE". Mrs Schofield was an exams invigilator who complained about another poem of Duffy's, "Education for Leisure", on the usual censor's grounds that depiction equals recommendation; in this case, of knife crime. "I think it is absolutely horrendous," squealed Schofield; "what sort of message is that to give to kids who are reading it as part of their GCSE syllabus?" As the poem bearing her name points out, with perhaps a little less pity than the poor clod deserves, there are a few unpleasant incidents in Shakespeare, too. Duffy even implies that poetry "pursues the human like the smitten moon/ above the weeping, laughing earth" and that we "make prayers of it", which could easily be taken as inducements to stalking and religious violence; fortunately, it appears that Leeds West Academy does not anticipate its new library being frequented by heads of the requisite thickness.

"Education for Leisure", the poem that caused the trouble (and drew two other complaints besides Schofield's) was written in the 1980s, and Schofield registered her objection in 2008. Since the Home Secretary and schools minister at that time were respectively the authoritarian dimwit Agent Smith and the tabloid-pandering bully Ed Balls, it is remarkable that Duffy isn't still under house arrest.

Me at Poetry-24
For Thine is the Corporation


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