23 March, 2009

Facebook & the Poet David Morley

I confess that I lean heavily on Facebook to stay in touch with my friends in the world of words, politics (words), and births, deaths and marriages (words, words, words). I’m an old-timer who joined Facebook way back in the year of the Lord 2004 or thereabouts when a ruckus erupted on campus over racist statements being bandied about on the site. It is only in the last few years though that I have become a tender of the flame. I avoid the quizzes; I haven’t taken one yet. I think. Quite recently, a good friend blinked out of Facebook because she needed to get back to writing. Last month, I caught Farhard Manjoor defending his piece against Facebook-holdouts in Slate on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. I have to admit that I laughed long and hard at the cranky anti-Facebookers that crowded the show, reminding me that the desire to be anti-cult can be just as cultish as the original cult. And that is said as someone who prides herself on being the front-line of defense for The Lord of the Rings against the tinny clamor of the Harry Potter chorus.

But the reason for this post is to share my discovery of an amazing poet, artist and human being named David Morley. Not being a poet myself, except in times of deep anguish when I am known to order unnecessarily melodramatic words into lines, claim that it is poetry and even mail it hither and yon only to cringe a day later, I had been oblivious of his existence or amazing contribution to literature until I ran across him on Facebook. I don’t even remember how it was that I found him. Perhaps it was a “friend suggestion,” or just by browsing through my friends’ lists of friends. I clicked on his link for the simple reason that he looked interesting. Yes, Virginia, your profile picture is important. David’s biography tells of eighteen published works including nine collections of poetry and of his life as “a critic, anthologist, editor and scientist of partly Romani extraction.” He teaches at the University of Warwick and this is his blog.

One of the most fascinating things that came to me through discovering Morley on Facebook, was a slow art poetry trail that he had constructed at Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire. The poems are written into the natural materials and are designed to remain there until they disappear. You can watch the introduction by Morley and follow the trail here.

The word-iteration of sand mandalas. The fact that my first novel contained an enormous amount of research into Romani rituals. David Morley out of the ether. Life is good. Facebook on, my friends, even with the new and not-improved version of the beast, it remains a beautiful thing.

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One Response to “Facebook & the Poet David Morley”

  1. Preeta says:

    Ah, so that’s what happened to Nina. A valid reason to sequester herself, but I really must e-mail her.

    And I’ll definitely check out this poet’s blog. In a previous life I was working on a dissertation on Gypsy music festivals in France (I use the word Gypsy because they used its French translation themselves) and did a lot of research on Romani culture and rituals across Europe for that. I never finished the dissertation — but what a coincidence that you share that interest! I was even briefly in touch with someone doing related work at the University of Warwick, but it wasn’t David Morley. I think there’s a whole bunch of people working on Romani studies at that university.

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The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.


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