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What schools?

June 7, 2011

And an editor comes home and it’s raining so the washing can’t go out and the dog is eating peanut butter and Radio 4 is moaning about the decline of the High Street.  Drink tea, make soup (literally) and think about the press, this is your day my son….

So the first 10 pamphlets are more a grouping of young poets I admire.  There’s nothing really linking them beyond their age and their fine poetry but I think they give the press a solid start: this is our remit, read it.

Thinking about the next 5, the Purple Experimentalists, I know why I went for the avant-garde.  I don’t want the press to be overtly avant-garde.  A lot of small presses get stuck publishing experimental poetry until they’re really publishing not-very-good experimental poetry.  I know what I’m not into.  I’m not that into vispo or anything too disjointed.  I like to see the ideas and thinking and craft and  style within the poetry, I like to know the poet understands what they’re doing and not just writing something loose as opposed to being erm disciplined and giving into form etc.  Two of the poets I’ve got for the Purple Experimentalists are certainly aware of what they’re doing, they’re intelligent poets that challenge and delight (is delight a bit camp?).  Is this a difficulty I might find with publishing experimental poets?  I am sort of one myself, to an extent, but I often find it hard to connect with that style.  I prefer the poetry that joins the gap, the gap between the traditional (mainstream?) and the experimental.  I think Roddy Lumsden said something once on Facebook about poets, young poets, combining a kind of lyric tradition with a willingness to experiment.  That interests me.  But where does that lead me after the Purple Experimentalists?

Should Holdfire be then completely open to submissions leading the groupings?  Will that work?  Will I get, in the space of a couple of months, 5 poets I can say have a uniting style or poetic philosophy? What poetics will I be looking for?  Maybe I should ask new submissions to provide a 2000 word essay on their poetics.  This is a ridiculous idea.

There has been attempts to group poets.  Todd Swift did something with an American magazine but I can’t find the articles and wouldn’t want to jump on board someone else’s definition of new poets.  So maybe I should look for poets who write about nature, about landscape.  Hawk poems.  Hedgehog poems.  Or I could look for the urban poets, poets that represent a city.  That appeals to me.  I’m just starting a collection myself, Lyrpole, and it’s about Liverpool, a kind of poetic view of Liverpool.  45 views, places, spots, and 3 poems about each one – written at different points in a year.  I could pick 5 cities – Liverpool, Belfast, Aberdeen, York and Brighton – 5 poets?  Hmm, I’m not sure.

How about poets who have just completed MAs.  That could be good.  Try to get a feel of how courses are influencing young poets.  There’s always outsider poetry – poets living in the UK who are not British.  Would this go against the idea of young British poets?

Obviously these are only ideas.  I have many ideas at the moment and I am writing many ‘To Do Lists’.  My wife is unnerved by my ‘To Do List’s, she sees something obsessive in them.  I shouldn’t show her my notebook, every other page is a new list and something always gets missed.  For instance today apparently I need to; Contact Liverpool Council to look into free office space, Send a book to Toby Rivas (forgot completely about this), Scan my hand drawn map for The Forsaken North, look into self-publishing for The Forsaken North (GP Taylor did it), blog and twitter for The Forsaken North, print off covering letters and “Write a poem you fool”.  Writing the list out kind of makes me think the lists have become pointless and, I agree Noelle, obsessive.  I will reject the list and instead take the dog to Sefton Park.

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