Saturday, May 21, 2005


First, I should clarify one thing from yesterday's post - I was intending no criticism or comment on the poems in Rialto with the poem that I wrote (though what I said earlier still holds about a lot of magazine verse). It was actually a serious experiment to see what would happen and I'm rather pleased with the result. It's almost a kind of hidden Ashbery poem, and I think it's rather melancholy; which probably reflects my mood at the moment. I just need a title now.

Anyway, having cleared that up - I went to Manky Poets at Chorlton Library for a reading with Grevel Lindop yesterday. A long tall glass of a man with very white hair, and softly spoken but very clear. Not my favourite kind of poetry; a bit too formalist for me, but there were good images scattered about and on the whole it was reasonable. Don't take that as faint praise, by the way; this is just my opinion and is more to do with my current taste in poetry than anything to do with how good or bad a poet he is. Everyone else seemed to enjoy it immensely, and he managed to sell all the books he'd brought with him.

Helen Clare, who was in the audience, made an interesting comment in the pub afterwards. She said she was bored by straightforward narrative. That goes for me too, and I wonder if that's an increasing tendency even among the more mainstream poets. Little stories, anecdotes etc. are less and less prevalent, and people are now playing around with putting things in the wrong order, leaving things in the air etc... Less and less poems these days end with that smug little thump of meaning that wraps everything up in the last verse (there's a poem in Rialto that has 3 three terrific verses and ends with this awful summing-up verse that someone should have told him to cut. I didn't take a line from that for my poem because I'm hoping he'll realise himself.)

I'm thinking very seriously of going to Cork for the Cork International Poetry Festival - Tom Raworth, Lee Harwood and a whole host of the avant garde, British, Irish & American are going there. The line-up looks terrific.

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