Sunday, 12 November 2006


Welcome Speech

"Welcome to this blog! The title comes from a postcard I picked up at a Small Press Fair, which has on it the text I have used as this blog's title. Thank you, Jennifer Winters, for the phrase, from a postcard produced as part of the LLAW event curated by Brigit Mc Leer at the Bookartbookshop.

"The starting point for this blog is the plan for a website detailed in the very first post below, which I made publish earlier this year, to a mainly supportive response. The point of the blog is essentially twofold:

"So, present state of play as far as I am concerned is not good. This is a reflection of my present circumstances rather than the chronic marginality of contemporary innovative British poetry. Two factors:

"I left a truly dreadful negotiating meeting early on Thursday, in which a total breakdown and a formal state of dispute looked imminent, for the Launch Event for the wonderful Archive of the Now site. Thank you again Andrea Brady! A gathering of usual suspects, this time in an art locale (Jerwood Space in Southwark). Always humiliating to consider the sheer amount of money available for the art world.

"Fine, a good event, lost of people, across a range of generations and subgroups. Good readings as part of it — very successful. I was most struck by a return to form by John James — I had been disappointed by the later poems in the Collected Poems, but was very impressed by the solid force and power in the recent poems he read that night — and by Ian Hunt, a writer new to me, whose reading and texts impress me as, well, damned good. He's OK, as they'd say in a Howard Hawks film.

"What I did consider more negatively as I surveyed the gathered elect of contemporary innovative British poetry was the notion of who would be needed to get this projected website of mine off the ground and into a functioning locus within both real and webspace. I'm not sure it can be me is the problem. Wrong generation — too removed from the cool & the clever who are now doing the running, and never managed to become a part of the great and the good either. Just not a made man. I think my plan is good — but it wouldn't work if I tried to do it.

"Could be the stress of life at present is triggering my frequent mild depression & paranoia — it had been a truly shitty meeting earlier that day. Could be I had an insight. Hence this blog, where I'll try and work some of this out.

"Do post comments, or email me with any responses.

"I've also sworn a mighty oath to post something at least once a week. Maybe a poem, maybe a rumination or proposal, maybe whatever."

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I don't think there can be or maybe even should be a single locus of the kind you proposed earlier. (As soon as something begins to have a centralized look, I hope and believe that new poets would reject it and head for the margins.) But I do think that there can be a collaboration of many innovative poetry sites offering distinctive things and what Great Works has is an enviable archive of texts and authors with none of the subtle manicuring that even ezine publication tends to impose. I believe that the blog with its promise of something new every week is the right kind of evolution, because encouraging us to check in for a blog update will also mean that we're regularly brushing past those "great works" we've so far ignored - and sooner or later, that means we'll go and take a closer look.

In poetry as in other walks of life, shininess isn't adequate. We
need the young but we also need the old and even, I hope, the in-between.

I'm absolutely thrilled by "St Leonards", btw!
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