Does anybody else feel like they're not reading the "right"poets? I sometimes get the feeling that because I don't go out and get the latest Faber or Picador poet, that I must be out of the loop. I know it's impossible to keep up; but then there's still the pressure to read "what everybody else is reading."
And then there's all the young poets. I should be keeping up with them, surely... Not really. Some.
And I'm probably missing some good poetry. I know that the few poems by Nick Laird that I've read in magazines have been enjoyable; but I wonder if I could read a whole book of them. Instead, I get hold of a review copy of Robert Shepherd's Complete Twentieth Century Blues because that's the one I want to read. It's like I'm deliberately being awkward. If Sean O'Brien or Don Paterson are bringing out a new collection, I may get around to it one day; but I'm too busy ordering the latest by Geraldine Monk.
I might even enjoy their books. But not as much as the new Geraldine Monk; or the little pamphlet of Rupert Loydell poems he's just sent me. There's a massive amount of poetry out there, and the majority of it doesn't float my boat particularly. But I don't feel like dissing it either; most of it will appeal to someone, and most poets have their coterie of readers who can't wait for their next publication.
Nevertheless, there is still the vague feeling of not reading enough, especially when I read that Roddy Lumsden reads 100 books-plus a year and I look at the long list of Books Recieved on Ron Silliman's blog. Some of them even look really interesting. And that's not to mention all the poets from earlier ages I've not read yet. People have been recommending Wyatt; and if I can find an edition that's not too expensive, I might well have a go...
But, first, I'm not made of money. Second, I have other jobs to do. Third, there has to be time to relax, take in the world outside of poetry, sleep, eat, listen to music, stare at the ceiling/stars and even, dare I say it, write. So I don't feel that bad.