Probably I was a bit swashbuckling there, the way one gets, so let me do a bit
of fine tuning.
Alison takes me to task for implying male consciousness is foreign to female
consciousness. Bad phrasing on my part, very old chestnut, apologies Alison,
should have known better. I really meant the trained male writer mind seems
to me often to have different preoccupations from those of many women writers.
I'm fortunate enough to be married to a very good writer, and we hone our wits
on each other, so I sort of know what I *mean*. I should have written
"conditioned/educated/brought up to be different from" or something like that.
May I sidle out of being controversial on that question, one arrow sticking
out of left buttock?
Tony's mild recriminations are no doubt entirely justified as to his
intentions, liberal mindedness, and so on, and I should have followed the Ruth
Padell thread more closely than I did -- I was away a lot at that time. I
gladly acknowledge his efforts in the past, which I was unaware of. So on
this point I wouldn't like to agree to disagree, as I wasn't much imputing;
insted, I welcome his clarification.
I expect I was annoying to both him and Peter, but, well, statistics,
statistics: these imbalances still haunt us. I remain Peter's devoted
While we at Gare du Nord do so largely, I'm not sure it's a safe editorial
policy to review only the books we get sent. Just checking our new issue
which we mailed today: in our "Books we're reading" column we mention either
as editors or poets Helen Kidd, Harriet Tarlo, Jennifer Dunbar, Lisa Jarnot,
Helen Macdonald, Eleni Sikelianos, Mary Margaret Sloan, Katie Lederer, and Liz
Waldner (-- and Tony Frazer!) Kidd and Tarlo appear by courtesy of Reality
Street's excellent little edition: I think both these poets are really worth
watching. We do get quite a lot of books come into the house -- could always
do with more -- but I know we're spreading a narrow net. Eleni, by the way,
has a terrific ear: I performed with her in Colorado this summer and she read
a mightily pleasing elegy for California. Mary Sloan has edited the useful
new Talisman House anthology, Moving Borders, which is one of the best recent
guides to women's writing.
Apart from very late on, when Picasso was next door to senile, his
post-1935 work usually has a something, a spark of humour, a grace of gesture,
blah blah. I'd rather look at it than, say, middle period John Bratby.
Doesn't it mean anything to see a great artist playing out his/her life? Are
we to say Brigglatts -- aargh! Gerroff Ric! Gerroff, I say. I love it, mind
my arm, I love it.
Actually, I said to Mr Bunting when he was about 200 years old that it
struck me as a shame that ageing artists often gave up writing poetry.
"Surely there's some far country they could get into." Cheeky, as I didn't
know him well, but a strange look did come into his eye and (without claiming
my remark had any effect) the next I heard he had been writing again, but then
the serious business of dying brought that to a halt. Briggflatts: a
monument, yes Ric.
Well, and I was chatting to Carl Rakosi this year: he was 94 and about to
perform his poetry the following night. "What are you going to read for us,