I was watching Andrew Motion struggling in Jamie’s Dream School last night as he tried to get a group of teenagers to engage with their first poetry class. Probably unsympathetically edited, he was shouting within minutes.
First mistake – he tried to get them to engage with an Edward Hopper image: a woman staring out of a window… Perhaps it’s an image that interests him. The kids were entirely uninterested; I know a bit about the artist, but I am with the kids. I should have been sympathetic to Motion’s plight having been faced with a barrage of sullen faces and crossed arms in my own Monday night class when we looked at some poetry, but I was not.
He was just too, well too wet blanketish, shuffling around in his quiet way.
I know only too well it’s not easy. It must be even harder with a camera there to record every moment of your dying on your feet. And of course he only had two hour long sessions – a ridiculously short time to do anything at all.
My top tip would have been to have chosen one of Edward Hopper’s other women looking out of a window (there are plenty, all based on his wife). One like this.
The shoes, the women, the windows, the staring – they all get right on my tits.