Thursday, January 31, 2008
There's an interesting (I think!) discussion of 'Englishness' going on at this blog: here. It's reminded me of how good, if a little disconcerting, it is to have this sort of discussion, which might challenge one's own world-view. About ten years ago I stumbled across the british-poets email discussion list. More sophisticated forums like Facebook have replaced these groups, and their demise was hastened by saboteurs who seemed to delight in stirring up arguments with insult and provocation until sensible people were driven away. The british-poets list (which also incorporated Irish poets, including Billy Mills and Trevor Joyce) was at the time run by the late Richard Cadell. He proved to be a warm and wise host and I'm grateful to have had the benefit of his encouragement for my writing and publishing. The group provided my introduction to innovative poetry and my education was assisted by being able to chat with the likes of Peter Riley, Douglas Oliver, Keston Sutherland, Geraldine Monk, Alan Halsey and other illustrious persons. It was all a bit ragged at the edges, but there was an openness that I think you'd be unlikely to get in a more controlled and monitored environment. I've realised while typing this that I'm getting nostalgic for the old days of email discussion groups. Better stop now.