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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Re: Barry MacSweeney

From:

"Lawrence Upton." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Lawrence Upton.

Date:

Thu, 16 Jul 1998 21:41:25 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (122 lines)

Re Ken's in response to mine about BM.

In response to my being surprised at the size of the audience for Barry
MacSweeney, he says _Experience should have forewarned you_ and then gives
reasons why they mightn't have turned up.

Well, experience did forewarn me and I did myself suggest reasons for them
not being there. And *taking *all *that *into *account, I was surprised and
remain surprised. It was a surprisingly small audience

He says _I really don't think you should go on about people "not being
bothered". Nobody has a duty to support poetry gigs. Sometimes we want a
rest.
Sometimes we have other things to do. The thing is to keep plugging away at
the organising business, as you so assiduously do, and make sure as many
people as possible get to hear about what's going on. Then it's up to them
to attend or not. (Yes, I wish more people would buy RSE books too.)_

Well I didn't go on about it. Most of the posting was about Barry. Others
talk about what poets wear. I talk about the size of the audience or where
it might be.

I think Ken *should go on about people not buying the books...

I addressed the issue of the continuation of the series recently, in an
editorial, which few read because they weren't there to receive it...

The situation is difficult for no other reason than readings have been
poorly attended. The discipline of the market place is closing it down.

If SVP had been in receipt of a grant wch was now threatened I would be
asking for support to continue it and would expect to get support. This is
no different except that it is up to the audience.

Personally I have no faith in the market place. I don't think socialism's
dead. I don't believe in the third way. I see no new world order and never
did. I don't believe in the mixed economy. etc. Maest people do to some
extent and if things go on as they are at svp then they will have made their
decision. I am just drawing their attention to the fact because the next
standard thing to be said is _why didnt you tell me; i didnt know_ - i have
seen it with trades unions. I used to criticise people for not turning out
in our NATFHE newssheets and be told _I don't think you should criticise
people for not supporting the union_... and then they'd say _I am in trouble
what is the union doing?_ the answer was very little because the union was
so weak through poor attendance

It may make people uncomfortable that I say what I think so clearly but I
don't think it's unfair. I really don't stand there thinking - x hasn't
turned up... But I do think _very few have turned up_

When Ken doesn't make it, for instance, I assume he has better / more
pressing things to do. He is a good attender. If I think about it, I am not
thinking about individuals so I am not trying to make individuals feel bad
in others' eyes. I don't mind them feeling guilty. Trevor Joyce suggests a
sack of them. OK. With a cat in it. But I wouldn't want to draw up a list.

The series is in part educative, any series is if it's any good.
I learn from other series and fail to get to them as much as I should. I
think people should be open to learning about poetry.

And as I *don't assert that anyone has a duty - not part of my speaking
vocabulary - I don't see that anyone should be upset when I say how
surprised I am that people don't turn out. I do believe that people often
can't be bothered wch is different to being tired or busy... it's quite
acceptable... that's why we have the government we have etc etc... so surely
no offence can be taken...

i shall go on organising for as long as it is possible... thanks to those
who have commiserated backchannel and otherwise... on we go

Ken takes me to task for my response to Roger Day's insulting review of the
Caddel / Harwood reading saying _it was a negative review on the whole,
perhaps based on inadequate knowledge... but it seemed to me at least an
honest response. Are we going to drive away all newcomers to our gigs just
because they don't go into instant raptures? _

Now Ric rather wants an end of this, but I do have to come back on Ken's
comments.

I stand by _insulting_ though it may well be honest too.

Roger Day wrote _It brought to mind Southey, trying to write himself into
history with copious amounts of poetry. _ ... that is what upset me
particularly and i am not prepared to accept it. i am all for honesty. i
praised barry m for it. but honesty is not enough on its own and honesty
brings with it a *duty to listen to responses otherwise all it is is
hectoring.

i dont want to drive away anyone who has anything worth while to say but i
dont think any of us have to put up with foolish insults being thrown at
other
list members. if a person who is so rude goes away because they are
challenged, so be it.

it seems that one is being told not to make a fuss, to be polite, and
not to name things too directly - what a friend of mine calls _being
english_

that seems to me the opposite of making poetry

all praise to ken as an organiser, lobbier, publisher, poet, general nice
bloke and good thing - i have a lot of time for him including his taste in
music... but on these points i think he is wrong. courtesy and
understanding, yes... gentleman's club manners, no

L














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