October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’m delighted to announce that The Footing, an anthology of poems and poem-sequences on the theme of walking, was published yesterday by Longbarrow Press. This has been a labour of love for Longbarrow’s editor, Brian Lewis; but its long gestation has borne beautiful fruit in the form of a 96 page, hard-cover book of poems with substantial contributions from Angelina Ayers, James Caruth, Mark Goodwin, Andrew Hirst, Chris Jones, Fay Musselwhite and myself (in the form of a sequence called ‘Flights and Traverses’). It is an absolute steal at £11 and is available from the Longbarrow site right now.
October 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
Well, who knew? The decision to have actors reading the winning poems at the Forward Prize appears to have resulted in a disaster. Here’s one account.
The arguments for such media-glam? Well, poets don’t read their poems well, apparently; and also, don’t forget that the poem ceases to belong to the poet as soon as it flies the nest.
While there might be cases where poets don’t read well, bringing in a hired hand isn’t the answer. If they’re dead – and unrecorded – then maybe we have no choice (though I’d have loved to have heard Keats, and Clare, and Marvell). But surely – however diffident a reader – it must be for the poet to set the poem on its way? It will take on its own life as others enjoy it in their own terms; but to recognise it from its origins, we need to hear, wherever possible, the voice that made it.
And where it isn’t possible, let’s hear other poets read the work: those who have worked with words as raw material.
And where that isn’t possible, let people read the poems for themselves, in their own voices, and live with them. I include, of course, actors – who can then, when they have lived with them, and changed, and gone back to them, made their own sense of them.