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Acumen 57

Acumen literary journal is one of the best in the UK, in terms of content and design, including poems, themed sections, literary debates on issues of the day, interviews and reviews.

So it is I am glad to have a poem in issue 57 (January 2007) along with other poets I admire, such as Tim Dooley, John Burnside and Frank Dullaghan; there is also a delightful piece on favourite early books from Dannie Abse and poets on "Nature Poetry".

Burnside's interview zooms in on the enigmatic remarks he made in a recent Poetry Review, about a "highly-esteemed British poet" who has zero time for the work of Jorie Graham, or, one infers, almost any American poetry that doesn't scan. Burnside notes the "lack of generosity and openness" in much of the English poetry establishment, to outside influences, especially North American.

He notes the current great rift between the English and American traditions. It's very important for Burnside to be saying such things, however obliquely, and, hopefully, with time, a more receptive community of readers will develop, among the editors and publishers at large today (not that all are deaf to new tones and styles).

In the meantime, some of these same highly-esteemed poets visit North America on reading tours, or to mark events, happy to receive attention and support for their work, yet often deeply dismissive of the literary traditions and values operating in the new world. As poets we should aim to understand and appreciate various contexts, rather than fear or discard what does not immediately appeal to us, or our own sense of what tradition means - or so it seems to me.
Enough soap-boxing for one day!

To find out more about ordering this or future issues, see or email to PWOxley at aol dot com.

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