Saturday, January 22, 2011

After the Reading

Reading from our Salt chapbooks on Wednesday at the Anthony Burgess foundation in Manchester, both myself and JT Welsch were overwhelmed by the size of the audience, and their kind appreciation. Poetry works well when it is well presented, and when there's an interest in what's being read - and I hope the evening managed to accomplish those apparently simple, but often difficult to achieve, aims. For every friend who couldn't make it, someone else seemed to turn up in their place, and because our own individual audiences don't crossover that much I hope both of us widened the interest in our poetry. Clare Conlon has kindly written a review of the night on her blog.

In today's Guardian, having awarded the new Picador prize last week to the unknown (to these ears at least), Richard Meier, Don Paterson makes the point that "so well-connected is the community of poets that you're never more than two or three degrees of separation from Seamus Heaney."

The column's important, I think, as one take on the "state of the poetry scene" at the moment - and its interesting that Paterson, both prize winning poet, and one of the gatekeepers, makes the point that middle aged editors are "in danger of publishing only young poets who sound like the now-middle-aged ones they grew up with." Its good that he mentions efforts by Salt and others to "tap into" the grassroots network, and the Picador prize sounds a good attempt to do something similar. It might even be a perfect next step for someone looking to follow up a debut pamphlet!

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