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They Dominate Doughnuts!

June 11, 2011

I have been absent from blogging for a few days and I’m not sure why.  I did get a bit drunk on Wednesday, and Thursday…and then Friday I had a day of reading (mainly about Henry III) and trying to sort out the dialogue in my novel.  They might all be the reasons for blog silence.

I did have a really good chat with Simon  Thirsk from Bloodaxe on Wednesday and he helped me add a kind of clarity to my overall business plan. My next blog post will be a discussion, with myself, of my business plans, the goals for the press, what I want to achieve for the poets and I’ll also put up my Mission Statement – 5 points I’ve come up with, following Simon’s advice, acting as a kind of manifesto of Holdfire’s ethos.

But for today..what to talk about hmmm.  I’ve been contacting festivals trying to get an idea of whether they’d give the poets who are published by Holdfire a free slot with expenses.  No responses yet though.   I hope some festivals do get back to me as it’d be really good to be able to help poets get readings (and a good way to sell books).  As a poet myself I’m sometimes confused and disenchanted by how little readings I get offered or when I do ask for a reading, get a yes, I then don’t hear anything.  So maybe I’m trying to live my dreams through the success of other poets.  That sounds fine.

I’ve also been reading on Facebook all the discussions, yes I did mean discussions, about whatever the hell is happening at the Poetry Society.  Even though I know I should care that a poetry organisation is crumbling or destroying itself, that one group of poets care only about self-preservation whilst the other cares, maybe too much, about the advancements they’re making that lead to a  thinning out of their role through excessive diversification (maybe), well I just can’t seem to some up an ounce of care over the whole situation.  I just can’t be arsed really.  I think this is because I feel disconnected from whatever happens in poetry in London and disconnected from the people, the poets, who are connected to the Poetry Society (this is obviously something I’m trying to change – I’m trying to spread the Press, get poets from all over the country and also find connections in London, Scotland, Wales, everywhere….Holdfire isn’t a Liverpool Press, it has, and should have, a national reach).   I get a strong desire to be insular when I read the comments, to say to myself  ‘Well what benefit has ‘Insert Organisation’ done for Liverpool or for me personally as a poet in  Liverpool’  and selfishly, from both a civic and personal viewpoint, I think nothing.  I then make the giant leap of thinking that maybe all these organisations might not simply need refreshing but overtaking, being usurped, by newer and more nationally open organisations.  All Watched Over By Poets of Love and Joy – an interconnected and ungoverned poetic movement.  Hmmm.

I have hidden Socialist and Working Class beliefs.  Barely hidden.  or rather I don’t shout them.  I see poetry, the poetry of this decade, as very (I don’t want to say it, I don’t want to say it)…very…very..Middle Class.  But then I see a lack of action from my own city in pushing poetry, literature, culture.  Any attempts to push culture seems somehow half-hearted and half-baked.  But then I also think, with an element of a scowl as I sit in a dive of a pub on Scotland Road (I don’t drink there) that culture thrives elsewhere whilst it kind of sneaks through cracks in concrete here.  I am a jealous man.  I am jealous of London, of Edinburgh, of Norwich, of Manchester.  Of Crewe!   Don’t blame me for this chip on my shoulder, blame the streets of Huyton, the empty shops and factories, the boarded up terraces, the 1960’s Catholic churches…ah….I can’t keep it up.  I was attempting to portray myself as a Socialist-Paranoid-Northerner there but I’m not. I was trying to dig out a reason as to why I find myself lacking energetic interest in the Poetry Society argument.

Here’s the real reason.  I think I feel that whoever is in charge or in a position of poetic influence it doesn’t matter too much to a small press.  Especially when that press wants to present, publish, promote young poets.  Hard work matters, growth and development matter.  Let the rest come later.  The press is trying to float beneath the surface, at first, and find poets that will go on to become the new established, the new avant-garde, the new cherished, the new urgenct, the new challengers.  So really I think I’m too interested in my own machinations at the moment, my own goals and how to achieve those goals, to worry too much about the shaky world of poetry.  I’ll build my own house and it’ll have a vestibule and the back door will always be unlocked.  Hmmm, it’d have to be a house in the country for that to work.  Maybe there’ll be geese and chicken in the garden.  Poetic geese and chicken.  A poetic dog and a poetic magpie staring down from an oak tree. The poetic magpie will become Magpie Laureate one day but the poor Poetic Dog will end up at Crufts, running through tunnels and over fences, forgetting every word of poetry he ever barked…

I hope people realise that the seemingly disjointed feel of this blog is merely to soften things before I post my serious Mission Statement.  It has nothing to do with an inevitable slowing in happenings now the poets are on board, the applications posted, the artists contacted, the goals targeted etc etc.  September isn’t far away but there’s a lot to do before then.  I should cherish these past few days of quiet inboxes and the time it has given me to stay up late and sort everything out  just like I should cherish Jamie Carragher before he retires (he can’t half tackle he can’t).

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