‘The Videomatic Tutor’ by Keith Jeffries is Write Out Loud’s Poem of the Week

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Keith Jeffries lives in the Canary Islands – a reminder to us all of the international reach of Write Out Loud – and looks back to the years of National Service in his poem The Videomatic Tutor, observing men struggling to keep up in a woman’s world. Here are his answers to our Q&A.


What got you into writing poetry?
My father first introduced me to poetry with the poems of A E Housman and Rudyard Kipling.


How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for many years but started giving serious attention to poetry about nine years ago. Write Out Loud has also given me great encouragement, and enabled me to be a part of an artistic community within which I have shared ideas, given and received comments and criticisms all of which have provided me with real sense of enthusiasm to write more and more.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?
I have never given a public recitation.


Who’s your favourite poet? And your favourite poem?
Pablo Neruda is my favourite poet, along with Chris Abani. Neruda´s poem ‘Never alone, with you’, is my favourite.


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
On a desert island I would like a collection of Tango records to dance to.


The Videomatic Tutor
by Keith Jeffries

The clatter of typewriters in a nearby classroom
created a scene of women learning to type
Young ladies sitting before Imperials and Remingtons
with their handbags aside peering at the Videomatic Tutor
Few realised that burly young soldiers
inhabited this sanctum of supposed feminine activity
Hands not made for the intricacies of a keyboard
struggled to hit the right keys
Fingers like sausages pressed two keys at the same time
A place of clerical mayhem in the hands of men
Standing in front of the class was the Videomatic Tutor
an illuminated key board for the attention of all
Keys would flash a light as an electronic voice said
s - now, i - now, t - now u  - now, p- -now.
To assist concentration and the development of rhythm
a gramophone played Glenn Miller´s Chattanooga Choo Choo
Keys were furiously hit, carraiges returned as expletives cut the air
This is how the British Army taught its troops to type
T - now, y - now, p - now, e - now


◄ Young people & poetry: a hobby worth pursuing

Rip Bulkeley and a poem for Grenfell ►


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 16th Jun 2018 10:22

Woo-Hoo! Congratulations, Keith, very well deserved POTW.
Loved it - reminded me of lessons at High School - the metallic echoes. My choice of music to practice to was by the Beatles. Thanks for the memories and keep 'em coming.
P.S. You've been listed in my favourites for ages.

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keith jeffries

Fri 15th Jun 2018 09:06

Dear All,
Thank you for your kind messages of congratulations on my POTW. I share this accolade with you, as it is each and everyone of you who has contributed to my enthusiasm and encouragement. I also thank all at Writeoutloud who tirelessly work to maintain the site.

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John Marks

Wed 13th Jun 2018 10:50

a place of clerical mayhem in the hands of men

There are echoes of the musicality of the typing pool - that mixture of the human voice and the music of machines - throughout this excellent poem. Well done Keith.

Many good wishes


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kJ Walker

Tue 12th Jun 2018 22:15

Hi Keith
Congratulations on POTW. Well deserved, not just for the brilliant poems that you regularly post, but also for the cheer that you bring to the site with your thoughtful comments. whenever I visit this site I always check out your work, and you never fail to impress

cheers Kevin

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Tue 12th Jun 2018 21:09

Firstly well done Keith on being awarded POTW. I don't know how you come up with such brilliantly written Poetry on such a regular basis. This is a fascinating, highly original piece and it creates vivid imagery as you read through it.
Amazing stuff! Well done again!

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 12th Jun 2018 15:49

Keith - a "Teidi" tribute. I echo the comments about your
overall contributions to this site. As for your blogs, keep "tapping" them out!

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suki spangles

Tue 12th Jun 2018 04:36

Congratulations Keith and all the best to you!


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Martin Elder

Mon 11th Jun 2018 23:08

A well deserved POTW and as far as I am concerned it was only a matter of time before this happened.
Your comments are always welcome and encouraging. I am really pleasedfor you and look forward to more of your work.
Many congratulations


Mon 11th Jun 2018 20:45

Congratulations on POTW, Keith. Very well deserved. I’ve enjoyed many of your poems and comments in WOL.

All the best des

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Mon 11th Jun 2018 13:38

Very insightful and enjoyable with a good dose of humour in it Keith. I can imagine the clatter as with all the old typing pools. Discipline can work wonders. Congratulations on this POTW . It is nice to get singled out for a bit of recognition.


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Graham Sherwood

Mon 11th Jun 2018 10:55

Well done Keith and I echo Colin's comments too.
I live close to Bletchley Park, the famous WW2 decoding station and this piece somehow had shades of those wooden huts running through it!

Well done on WOL POTW!

<Deleted User> (13762)

Mon 11th Jun 2018 08:52

Good morning Keith and well done on POTW - I'm sure everyone would agree that your poetry, comments and friendly demeanour have provided a much appreciated and positive presence here on WoL. Long may it continue. I missed this poem but reading it now I think it's fab and perhaps a slight departure in style for you. All the best, Col.

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Stu Buck

Mon 11th Jun 2018 08:33

Rich and delightful Keith, enjoyed this immensely.

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Darren J Beaney

Mon 11th Jun 2018 08:20

Go Keith! Well done sir!!!


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Brian Maryon

Mon 11th Jun 2018 08:18


I'm pleased to be the first to congratulate you on this well-deserved accolade. Well done!


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