Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
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Commentary: Newsbites

This poem is a villanelle, a formal poem with a predefined rhyme scheme and pattern of repeated lines; the best-known recent example is probably Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night".

I haven't owned a TV in a long time, but occasionally when I'm staying in a hotel room I'll switch on the TV news. It's inevitably a deeply depressing experience, from the superficiality and narrowness of the coverage to the stylised and predictable soundbite "debate" of our political culture. The thing I find most disheartening, though, is the empty and exploitative mock-concern with which human suffering in far-off places is presented (as long as suitably titillating footage is available).

My previous collection, Tails, also contained a villanelle, "A prayer". It's not that I particularly favour this form; it just seems to suit itself well to certain kinds of material. In this case, the repetitions of a villanelle seem appropriate both to the endlessly-repeated inflictions of human violence and brutality, and to the repetitive platitudes with which these are presented and "explained" to us by the mainstream media.

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