Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Naughty New Year Thought

In the review of Identity Parade, I noted that contemporary English poetry was suffering from a narrowing of styles and concerns, which might be partly attributable to a lack of diversity in the backgrounds of the authors. I also suspect that the growing influence of university creative writing courses and publicly funded creative writing groups might be contributing to this increasing homogeneity.

Whilst I am not a proponent of over-zealous deficit reduction, particularly when it serves political rather than economic ends, the proposed cuts in public funding might be an opportunity to reduce what I perceive to be an over-reliance on writing courses and groups, and allow poets to find other audiences and ways of connecting in less prescribed and freer contexts.

After all, poetry is extremely cheap to make, and to disseminate. The internet provides an accessible means for poets to expose their work, as well as forums to discuss poetry. Whilst the cuts may be a blow for those who were hoping to make a career out of writing, they could open up the contemporary scene, provided that some quality poetry publishers, like Bloodaxe, Carcanet and Arc, which publish new talent and (this is key) established international writers, continue to be funded.

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