RESPONDINGS

Respondings is the second collection of my reviews and writings about writing, this time selected from pieces published between 2004 and 2007. This one focuses on a few longer reviews and essays, rather than trying to be representative of all the reviews written since Conversations With Myself. Subjects include the New York poets, Tom Raworth, and J.H. Prynne.

More than one piece here provoked at the time of its first publication what might reasonably be called "ire" in some people. I've noticed that honesty is not always welcomed both in the real world and also in Poetry World. But the latter, where poetry careers happen and sometimes seem more important than the poem, is quite small, and in more ways than one. Anyway, I'm reminded of TV's Alan Partridge boasting about having 104 friends. I don't have anything like that many in the real world; in Poetry World I'm not even sure I'm in double figures. And I can't help but smile as I say this.

Responses are really what it's all about, and my response to things can change as years pass, or sometimes just days. Hence: Respondings. Having said which, when I re-read these pieces for the first time for a long time, I was still (as far as I could tell) in agreement with what I said back then. In some cases, I was astonished by myself. I didn’t know I was that smart. Or, as some people might have it, plain stupid. Whichever it is, I think it's interesting, which is better than boring, right?

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