Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Dark Horse, issue 25

I look forward to the arrival of "The Dark Horse". The recent issue has some articles on poetry marketing that try to answer questions like: Why do people agree to write blurbs? Why are anthologies like "Identity Parade" published?

  • "Blurbonic Plague" by Dennis O'Driscoll - As the pseudonymous Harvey Porlock noted, 'Reading reviews of modern poetry is like attending prize-giving in a small, caring primary school: everyone has done terribly well, it's all absolutely marvellous', p.11
  • "The Anthology Business" by John Lucas - Lumsden appears to have no love for language or the possibilities of prose rhythms. Nor ... does he show much ability to get beyond cliche ... I don't want to damn Lumsden's enterprise by such means. For all I know, he undertook to write these head notes with the enthusiasm of a man condemned to the stocks. Who in his right mind would want to produce what amounts to 85 blurbs, where the adjectives are selected much as buttons are from the button box ... And, to repeat, there are good poems aplenty in the anthology, p.25

To provide some balance there's an 8 page review by Rory Waterman of William Logan's "Our Savage Art: poetry and the Civil Tongue" - too often he roots out the bad whilst neglecting the good ... Logan thinks that the majority of writers are praised too highly and expect too much, p.76

Reviews, poems and other articles complete this tasteful offering. I was glad to see that Craig Arnold's "Uncouplings" uses anagrams -

the I in relationship
is the heart I slip on
a lithe prison ...

our listening skills
are silent killings

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