POETRY, POLITICS, PROVOCATION AND POPULAR CULTURE SINCE 2005 - over one million visits - British Library-archived
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Richard Hugo, died 30 years ago this week
Poet and teacher Richard Hugo
I finally got around to reading Richard Hugo's hugely influential, and very readable, slim volume on creative writing and poetry, The Triggering Town, the other day - oddly enough starting it around the 30th anniversary of his death, on October 22, 1982. I have since begun to go back to his poems. I was in a poetic dry spell, but reading him is allowing me to get started again. I found his chapter on his wartime experience in the field in Italy particularly powerful, and it has reminded me that truths told in stylish prose can achieve the force of good poetry.
So many authors and poets seem baffled and antagonised by my ideas
relating to small press publishing, that I thought it would be best to set them
down clearly and very briefly. I cannot claim they are mine, or that they are
the only way to see the world. They arise from the work of Louis Dudek, in
Canada, who created small press publishing for poetry, from the 1940s onwards,
and mentored Leonard Cohen. Dudek himself was mentored by Ezra Pound, who
encouraged him to create a small press – the result was Delta Canada, which
eventually became owned and operated by a group of young British and American
academics and poets from Concordia University; writers who were themselves
chiefly anti-war, left-wing and in some cases draft dodgers from the US. I was
eventually published by this later version of DC Books, in 1999. It remains the
most important publication of my personal life. And it reminds me always why
publishing is so important - bringing a book into the world changes the world;
Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.
Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.
To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…
Let's face it, Todd Swift is the North American underdog in the Oxford Professor of Poetry election 2019 - and with just over 15 days left to register to vote - now's your chance to make poetic history, and elect the first chubby, short-haired pugilistic contender from the New World...
and the first to have written cartoons for Hanna-Barbera, edited Sailor Moon, or worked for Penthouse in New York. He's created famous poetry cabarets, debated geniuses, and kissed a rotting cod in Newfoundland... but he has never lost his sense of humour.
Here are ten reasons why he'd be the most surprising, cool, unposh, eccentric, disruptive and genre-shifting Prof ever for this position. The Establishment is smearing him, trying to platform the guy - what are they afraid of? Hey, if he can't win, why all the panic? Is it because he will kick the apple cart over and tell Wordsworth the news?