Literally critical, part two

If you missed the first part of this story, look no further! You can find part one of Literally Critical right here. And now, to pick up where we left off…

The problem we faced producing both the ‘Port Naain Re-evaluation of Literature’ and the ‘Port Naain Guide to Literary Merit’ was not the workload. The real problem was the need for anonymity. Had we been able to credit the authors of the copy then we could doubtless have hired plenty of contributors. In fact, the act of merely offering money would mean that we would have been forced to beat writers off with a stick. On the other hand, had the Port Naain literary world known who was writing the content for these two publications; it would most likely have been we who were beaten with sticks.

The anonymity did lead to problems for some. I had to do a review of an event Lancet Foredeck had featured heavily in. Now I will admit that I have never let my long association blind me to the flaws in Lancet’s work. Installation poetry has always struck me as somewhat overblown, after all what poet worth their salt cannot spontaneously knock off a few stanzas or even just a rhyme or two when the situation calls for it.

But still, Lancet is a better than middling painter, a perfectly competent teller of tales to large groups of young children whom he can hold spellbound, and to be fair, he’s not a bad poet. But at the event I attended, he surpassed himself. He launched into a mixture of pre-rehearsed and spontaneous work which was breathtaking in its comprehension and range. As he finally sank down into his seat the entire audience stood to applaud him. Even those who were merely present to drink at the bar rose to applaud him. Indeed the barman brought him a tankard of the bar’s best ale to quench his thirst without even being asked or staying for the money. On that day, in that place…