Saturday 28 October 2023

The Dark Horse, issue 47

In this issue there's quite a lot about about how clubiness and other social pressures affect poetry writing and reviews. In his editorial, Gerry Cambridge writes

  • "poetry is most valued as the vessel for issues"
  • "The community is inclusive provided one shows that one is right thinking and holds the same values as the group. If one doesn't, unconditionally ... one ... will be covertly or openly excluded"

Edna Longley's essay wonders how The Waste Land (which she thinks good in parts) has come to take such an prominent (almost defining) position in Modernism - because Eliot was a critic? "because the academy may need The Waste Land as all things to all theories ... Latterly, the poem has even been called an ecocritique ... Ricks ingeniously or desperately proposes that Eliot's ugly images are cast back upon the reader to test our own prejudices"

NB's contrarian exploits in TLS are explored.

Kathryn Gray writes -

  • "Many poets - too many poets - spend the remainder of their careers attempting to rewrite their most successful book"
  • "In an age heavily policed by social media avatars, we are supposed to be good. Increasingly, and quite illogically, I think, we also desire our writers to be good"
  • "I wish more poets wrote in as badly behaved a fashion as they sometimes lived. ... And perhaps a readership for poetry would widen and deepen and we would see far less of the 'school project' syndrome that haunts many a collection"

Gerry Cambridge writes

  • "Criticism and reviewing are regarded as the antipathy to 'creative' work ... Nothing is gained [] by calling indifferent work good. All it does is baffle the potential audience outside the subculture and buttress the idea of poetry as a recondite arcana, over the heads of the uninvolved intelligent"

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