Monday, June 18, 2007

Some nice new work is about to appear on Litter: an intimate memoir of WS Graham by Geoffrey Godbert, and an extensive review of Gael Turnbull's Collected by Alistair Noon. There are some astute observations in Alistair's piece. I like this summary of British history:

"What for the Romans were the Tin Islands became the command centre of a maritime empire, has become Airstrip One, and may end up as a supply node for East Asia."

and I also like this comment:

"...there are simply more resources for a poet to draw on than previously. Under such circumstances, synthesis of influence is likely to be ongoing, and perhaps piecemeal, rather than reaching some notional endpoint at which the poet 'finds a voice'."

Why indeed should a poet "find a voice" - why not have many voices, or voices which sounds like other people's voices? I've always admired poets like Edwin Morgan who sometimes sound like other poets, or who have different styles for different types of poetry. It's possible to get hung up on the individualist notion of "voice".


cj allen said...

Interesting. I think I agree. One of the possibilities - not to say charms - of poetry is that it allows the poet different voices, different 'personae', to refernce EP. Anyway, more of this later, in 'The Brunswick', eh?

Alan Baker said...

and as we said last night Clive... there are poets like Fernando Pessoa who wasn't one 'person' but many, complete with biographies and individual styles. Of course it could be down to different types of poet: Blake had a fully-formed style right from the start which didn't change, whereas Coleridge's conversation poems don't bear much resemblance to 'The Ancient Mariner' or 'Christabel'.