Teaching a cat to dance

Tallis Steelyard

There is a school of thought which pronounces, with some vehemence, that one ought to undergo continuous training throughout your career. I can see the advantages of this. I make a point of reading the works of great poets, so I can see how they have tackled problematic issues or handled various verse forms. I put down their work and I am inspired.

I also read the work of the bad poets, the writers of doggerel or of lyrics for popular ballads. When I put these works down my eyes are wet with tears. I grieve for those poor innocent words, tormented beyond measure and forced into unnatural juxtapositions.

But let us be honest here, why should I go to attend courses on my art from people who have never practiced it professionally? People who haven’t spent decades perfecting their art, performing in venues so tough that condottieri tell their…

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