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November 25, 2007


K.M. Dersley

Martin, when you say 'this post is a waste of time,' do you mean the Creative Writing post or the blog post? Or both? There is a great gap between the huge amount of poetry that is touted at you (legitimately enough) these days and what makes a true impact on YOU, that you yourself can really like. The effort of having to remind yourself that there are poets out there that you ought to know about and probably like is deadly. The ones that really 'reach', you will know them, discover them with a light browse, and they will make a dent. You will then want to go after their works and find that thousands of others have plenty of books out and he/she just a skinny chapbook or two. But letting your nose and its true snese of odour lead you immediately simplifies things.
One reason I will never do Creative Writing Workshops is that you have to give fair attention to anyone who comes along. They may be terrible as poets, or they may be fairly good or even brilliant but terrible for you, and you've got to sit there and take it, you see. At least for an hour or so.
A blog post here though that piques preoccupations that have pulled at me quite a bit. Thanks for it, you're saying what a lot must be thinking.


I meant the website post, the ramble, not the job post. I'm sorry that was unclear. The creative writing things I'm doing at the moment are fine.

No, it's not "creative writing" classes that are my point here. I'm not wholly sure what my point is, except I know it's not that.

Andrew Bailey

If it were food, and you were wondering what the point would be if you couldn't taste the food of all the cooks, it wouldn't stop you cooking. As metaphors go, it also lets you think of recommendations and taste and the inexplicable popularity of certain franchises. Which would make Sarah Crown a Zagat reviewer, presumably.

What would you do in however long it took to write this that isn't a waste of time, in the long view? And is me responding to it even more a waste of time, or a retrospective justification of it in that it's two-way communication now? That latter would mean you wouldn't know if you were wasting your time until later, which is probably true of poetry as well. But I'd say worrying about it is a good sign; those that don't worry are, well, Heston Blumenthal or microwaving burgers.

Sandra Tappenden

You`re only saying what anyone who reads poetry on a regular basis says, but generally not to an audience... If you care about something, you worry about it, and it worries you; a kind of unspoken deal. I think about it (maybe) as having the same dilemmas attached as giving to charity (?!): you have to choose,to make any sense at all of what`s `out there`. And that`s a choice based upon a certain sensibility a whole lifetime has informed, so you cant even jump outside it for more than a minute without being fraudulent.

And where does all this stuff aching to be read come from? If it`s mostly `white western` then you have to ask a whole different set of questions? I dont think I can address yr posting without bringing geopolitics into the mix. Sorry.

Phewph. Dare to be small, I say. Concentrate. What`s wrong with a culture of focus?

richard lopez

serious points raised, but i can't help but think about the over-abundance of music too. does anyone go into a record store [which might be a moot question now since it seems most consumers of music download from the net] and worry that of all the thousands of artists for sale that one would need several dozen lifetimes to listen to them all. and film. each time i go into the local video store and can't find a single thing to watch among the thousands available i despair. not quite the same thing as worrying over too much as opposed to not finding something to suit my tastes. at any rate, the video store is filled to the rafters of videos that would take years of my life to view, if that were my aim.

but it's not. i think the net is great for poetry, and i'm always making discoveries and googling the names of poets who've caught my fancy. sure i worry that i'm not giving all the poets i read a fair shake. but, man, i read who excite me. and for my aching back, i use my laptop where the thing sits in my lap and can be read like a newspaper, sort of.


Thanks for all of this. I worry all the time. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I do.

Maybe it's just that occasionally I have to let that worry out into the open air, then I feel better. I'm not sure I do feel better, but so it goes....

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