I had better re-post this as it bounced at mailbase this morning.
Re-reading it tonight it strikes me as lightweight but then I hadnt
had a drink when I wrote it!
I have just spent the morning reading the TLS and the new Angel Exhaust,
both of which arrived in the post. I am puzzled about Peter Riley finding
AE sexually disturbing cos I found Peter Green's discussion of Classical
Greek sexual practices much livelier than anything in AE and quite as
interesting. I will just make a few points from my first reading of AE,
which I always find fascinating, particularly the editor's ramblings:
1. The usual wreckage of poems, some of whom I publish myself.
Nothing of note, although Nick is in better vein here than he was
in his Etruscan Reader with Helen Macdonald. It must have been
written before the Dartington influence got to him.
2. Andrew Duncan's prose not as lively as it can be in his very long
piece. The first point that strikes my mind is his emphasis that
to get an audience as a poet today, particularly if you are not
mainstream as I am not, you have to sell yourself by performance.
This is a point that hurts with me as due to my psychiatric nervous
problems I have read only one poem in public in my life. That was
at an anthology launch at Dillons In London over two years ago
and I needed six pints of London Pride, consumed in MacDiarmid's
old pub before I was up to it. Because I am not mainstream it is
obvious that my books etc wont get distribution [most are given
away] but I would recommend to readers the urgency of getting Webspace
on the Internet for their poetry. Over the past four years I have
built up a following and my readership over the last year has varied
from 500 to 4500 readings a month. [Remember that one person can
make multiple readings and return many times in the month]. Everyone
who knows about poetry on the Internet agrees that this is the future
for small press publishing. The problem at the moment is that it is
dominated by Americans. Enough of this. Back to AE.
3. I felt Andrew Duncan was moving toward my own vision of poetry in
his attack (?) on Conductors of Chaos but I didnt like his antipathy
for the left wing. I have always been of the Left. I must re-read
his article again cos many of his pages were fuzzy and didnt transmit
information very well. That is the luxury of being an editor. Nobody
edits you. I should say that I have seen things I like in Andrew
Duncan's own poetry. A touch of the Mongolian pastoral.
4. The Manifesto seemed rather guide and only emerged as an attack on
Jeremy Hooker towards the end. Jeremy Hooker is a Bath poet and I
have met him so I get all his books. But Poetry of Place is not
for me. There is no life without real people in your poems (and for
me I use my own persona as my main subject, which is anathema to
mainstream and postmodernists). Jeremy Hookers new book from
Enitharmon is carpet poetry. Not out of place alongside Ashbery.
5. I was delighted to see Frank O'Hara mentioned by Karlien. He is
one of my great heroes in contemporary poetry. I just wish I could
write like him. One day I might achieve it but it just never happens
Well, enough ramblings. I have to go to my newspaper shop now and
get a paper. My Guardian want delivered this morning. Then a session
in the pub and back for Dvorak's 9th on Radio 3. Such is life when
they forcibly retire you on a pension. Tonight is quiz night at the pub.
Angel Exhaust 15 costs 4 pounds from Andrew Duncan at Flat 6, Avon Court,
Holden Road, London N12 8HR.
I will take another look at it this afternoon. Cheers.