Tag Archives: Peter McCarey

The Syllabary

Norm

So what’s the norm in this neck of the woods?
Greetings and leave-takings for example,
pats, dabs, cheek-kisses, handshakes, embraces,
toasts, tips, quips, queues, curses, table manners,
neckwear, nightwear, refusals, condiments,
punctuality and superstitions,
the etiquette of stimulants, when not
to use the informal second person,
what’s for breakfast, shop-talk, the latitude
or lack thereof accorded foreigners.

Peter McCarey launched v.3 of his ongoing opus The Syllabary at the Scottish Poetry Library on Saturday 10 October. An ongoing, accumulative sequence of short poems each based on a single phoneme (consonant+vowel+consonant), you can read and hear an ever-varying selection of the poems here and also here (I think the latter is the newer site). Peter reckons he has about 2000 poems to write to complete it, but he’s also now initiated a parallel project, inviting other poets each to write one poem and again aiming for that 2000 (or so) mark.
I was allocated ‘Norm’, and read my poem on the night – I just now realise the symmetry of it, 10 lines each of 10 syllables on 10th October. Also reading were Richard Price, Angus Reid, Eleanor Livingstone, Alan Riach and Sandy Hutchison.