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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Re: Not indifferent enough

From:

Michael Gardiner <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Michael Gardiner <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 28 Jun 1998 18:11:13 +0100 (BST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (49 lines)

Ric, 

thanks for your last, but the ones before, from you <Individuals save us
from fascism, Euro-Enlightenment liberalism is the Law>, Ira Lightman
<'you and Andrew' make me feel queasy>, and Peter Riley <a) all standards
are impossible, b) (I assume) his sparkling Wildean way of saying 'Get
to Fuck'>, these are all difficult for me to relate to. As I understand
it, both PR and IL were telling me that it's wrong to raise objections to
a product - sold for money - which everyone is deliberately refusing to
take any responsibility for the quality of... I don't understand firstly
how you can expect any public to buy any product made in that way, and
secondly where new readers come from, unless you're completely disavowing
the idea of wanting to expand the audience for your ideas. Perhaps you
find that fascistic (? - pretty Eurocentric reading, no?), but the
alternative - we're allowed to abandon capitalism because we're poets, and
if someone else joins us every few years, that's OK - is too lonely. I
need more of a sense of connection with the social - people working with a
shared set of standards and the goal of expanding their market. Perhaps it
is, as you determinedly suggest Ric, and age thing. But being 'very young'
(steady on) doesn't mean never having considered cultural value etc.
etc, in fact doing so is my day job. I get the feeling from recent
discussions that taking selling seriously if you're selling a poetry book,
refusing to disavow the desire to sell a product, even a cheap one, isn't
on, and people will rain down their Wildean Get to Fucks and their
queasiness on you for suggesting it. This gives me a terrible sense of
loneliness about the whole scene of being interested in poetry... someone
recently used the comparison of a municipal park, which I think is spot
on. Some of us actually enjoy the sense of community, for it too is
community, of being part of the working world which know that selling
requires a sense of standards taking precedence over ideals of expressions
of individual souls etc., which is what poetry still seems to mean for us
(what Geoff Ward, I think, calls the persistence of Romanticism). Faced
with the choice, 99% of young people will take the standards and the wider
social meaning over the rainbow alliance of free expressions plus the
emotional blackmail, and I'd like to adapt my aesthetics to that world..
If a decreasing audience is OK with you it's OK with me, but if you're
passionate about poetry and poetic heirs...
Of course, as I tried to say in the last to IR, I'll rejoin after
rereading VVV and the other writers discussed, and will read in a state
permeable to ideas. Hoping for reciprocation of this, Peter Riley.

>From Finland, last for a while

Michael Gardiner.



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