Last Saturday I met up with Clive Allen, Adrian Buckner and Martin Stannard (newly returned from a year in China). We sat in a cafe on Nottingham University's campus, by the lakeside and caught up with the news, then discussed some of our own and others' poetry. Very civilized. For a long time - years - I wrote and read poetry in more or less complete isolation. It doesn't help that I work in IT, and most of my buddies at work are more interested in cars and computers than poetry. Being part of a community (on-line and in the real world) is essential to me now, and in fact, provides the rationale for my writing and publishing.
Sad to note the passing of Bill Griffiths. Griffiths' work was among the first I came across when I first encountered the non-mainstream. His hand-cranked pamphlets in various shapes and bindings from his Amra Imprint were wonderful: 'Starfish Jail', written to raise funds for a prisoner in Wandsworth, or 'Mr Tapscott', a poem about race relations in Liverpool, written to support the campaign to free Ray Gilbert, one of the Toxteth Two whose conviction in 1981 was seriously flawed, but who remains in prison. For me, work like this opened up a whole new approach to poetry, and the use of poetry.