If I were a tutor on creative writing course (an unlikely scenario) I'd advise young poets to stop writng for twenty years or so, then, after having some experience of life and wide reading, to take up the craft again. It seems to have beneficial effects. George Oppen famously gave up poetry for political activism for twenty-six years, and a number of poets I'm in touch with have taken life-sized sabbaticals: Ed Baker, for one, and the excellent Alisdair Paterson for another. And now we have Aidan Semmens, who has been working as a journalist and leading a normal life for a few decades, but who has now returned to writing and publishing poetry. Semmens was at Cambridge in the 70s - he won the 1978 Chancellor's Medal for an English Poem at Cambridge - and for a while edited Perfect Bound, the magazine associated with the Cambridge school and the British Poetry Revival. He then lived in the north-east, where he was involved with with the Morden Tower readings and was a friend of Barry MacSweeney and Richard Cadell.
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