Thursday, 20 May 2010


'I visit a lot of US blogs that are engaged in a wide-ranging debate about poetry and poetics and culture. E.g. R Silliman, M Scroggins, P Lu, S de Deo, B Watten, L Jarnot, K S Mohammad, G Huth, E Tabios, JP Kervinen to name a few good ones. And their focus is naturally US poetry though the philosophy might be more international. Now the question is, do you know of any UK Blogs with a focus on UK poetry that are operating anything like this kind of wide-ranging but detailed debate? I expect there must be some around, but I don't happen to know them - the good ones I know are mostly quite unambitiously anecdotal (great book, terrible news, what's on my hifi).'
 This is Michael Peverett, from as far back as 2006. I'm not sure whether the situation has changed very much in the intervening years( although I make no claims to being an authority on the blogosphere.) Despite notable anomalies like Gists and Piths and one or two others, it is still to US blogs like Silliman's that one turns for "wide-ranging but detailed debate" about contemporary poetry; "unambitiously anecdotal" ones still seem to predominate over here.
  I flag this up less as a statement of my own ambitions in starting a poetry blog - which are at present both  modest and tentative - than as an indication of the kind of thing I want to avoid. The focus will be much more on poems, poetry-volumes and poetic theory than on myself as a poet: if this has any value as a shared forum it is as a provisional working-through of reflections and ideas on reading and composition that might have some interest or resonance for external viewers.
   As the title 'Ictus' implies, I'm particularly concerned with formal and prosodic issues, though again the challenge is not to lapse into the eye-wateringly tiresome nerdiness that often accompanies such writing. This was in fact why the polysemous word 'ictus' seemed so apt: the stress of the poem can perhaps be as vital as the pulsing of blood or as disconcerting as the convulsive movements of a seizure.
   I'm also interested in lots of other things as well as poetry - literature in general, music, art, culture, politics, language - and I'm sure elements of all of them will seep into these posts also.
   I already feel myself lurching towards the self-indulgent and this is above all what I want to fight shy of. There are already too many blogs out there that seem to recall Frank O'Hara's Autobiographia Literaria:

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

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