When did the counter-poetry start?

The current version of the Introduction is still the object of fierce debate among a few people being consulted. One issue is the start of people “dropping out” of the poetic mainstream. The text reads at present “This constricted focus is the reason why young poets left the mainstream and moved into an alternative world – why, in fact, they had been steadily walking out on this set-up since the late 1960s.” Of course the date around 1960 for the origin of the Underground is more traditional. A popular moment of transition is Roy Fisher’s City, coming out from Migrant Press in 1961. One comment: “This must refer to an extension of the AR timeframe, as you say "had been...since" and it seems to me palpably the case that that behaviour goes back a lot further.  (Andrew would know about the Apocalypts better than I, but didn't, say, Keidrych Rhys opt out of the standard-model literary rat-race?  And some of the Angry Young People?  There were a few British Beats...  I

notes on the poems

Notes on ‘Rustbelt’ anthology Wheale. Caspars: French slang for “rats”. cf. the book Gaspard de la nuit by Aloysius Bertrand. Caspar was in legend the Black one of the Three Kings (with Melchior and Balthasar). Mengham. Nomenclature: the Communist Party had lists of the loyal and dependable, who were the only ones acceptable for jobs above a certain (menial) level. These lists were known as “nomenclatures” (nomenklatura) and the word became a sceptical term for the whole Communist power elite. Marriott. Mr Claude: is this the poet Claude McKay? Pahouin: “The Fang people, also known as Fãn or Pahouin, are a Bantu ethnic group found in Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon, and southern Cameroon.” “the extent of my perversity overwhelms me! But why impenetrable jungle are you still hiding the total zero of my mendacity and from a self-conscious concern for nobility not celebrating the horrible leap of my Pahouin ugliness?” Aimé Césaire, Cahiers d’un retour au pays natal . So we have

publication date

The final text has gone to the book designer who does the work on behalf of Waterloo Press. We don’t have a firm publication date because Waterloo’s schedule has been affected by illness – but we are announcing March 2023 as a basis for planning. Everything is fixed except maybe the blurb. All our sympathy goes to Simon at Waterloo. And, all thanks to him too for resuscitating the project in 2020.

slowed metabolism?

Slowed metabolism? The project had, early on, a claim that alternative poets emerging during the 1980s had difficulties and that the metabolism of the scene had slowed down to near-deathly rates. By coincidence, I have retrieved poetry titles from 1983 from the British Library catalogue (and the Poetry library catalogue), and I thought to excerpt from that list the “alternative” titles. Like this. A bit brink green quartz-like / Tony Baker. Durham : Pig, 1983. Testaments / Chris Bendon. Lampeter : Spectrum, 1983. Throw out the life line, lay out the corse : poems 1965-1985 / Asa Benveniste. London : Anvil Press Poetry, 1983. Sweet cicely / Richard Caddel. Durham : Taxvs, 1983. The tulpa index : A stairway ; Half locked at ; The human gate / B. Catling. [Norwich] : St George Press, Norwich School of Art, c1983. Twenty poems / Thomas A. Clark. Matlock Robertswood, Farley Hill, Matlock, Derbyshire : Grosseteste, 1983. The hollow way. Thomas A Clark [Nailsworth] :

Stephen Oldfield

CONFUSION SUITE sign this (can you use this?) * the grass is always greener on the other side of the screen * * 'climb out of the small print and up into the flagrant caps' * there are details you notice not getting on with it on Hollingworth lake the eights prang the rowing boats or used to (they sliced the water the cox’s nose his rudder) * sign this you could use the money or at least the soap * over amplified music/the notes each have pastry on * use the grate outdoors if you must * every thing has a vice-versa and some things only that * I can't even hallucinate straight * 'there has to be something else to account for it I mean chemicals do have a little dignity l wonder if there's a top to his head under that hat' * listen I'm not trying to prove anything and if you look at it another way * Parameters? bear in mind that rabbits are civilized and a bird in the cat is worth how mu


a capture from an interview with Michael Schmidt: Carcanet did not exactly change direction in 1987 but when we took on the poetry of John Ashbery there was, as it were, a second direction running parallel to, and occasionally colliding with, the first. I became much more interested in experimental writing—not the kind that has its being wholly within the walls of universities and is the fruit of literary theory, but the kind that grew out of an experience of language at fruitful odds with convention and sometimes with itself—so there was the New York School, and some of the poets we already published began to loom larger for me—Christopher Middleton, Edwin Morgan. It was a wonderful time: I think writers like the great Irish poet Eavan Boland, whom we have published since 1987, felt more at home in this broadening list. I know I did, too: all sort of temptations could be succumbed to with a sense of righteousness rather than sin. This did not lessen my commitment to the original dir


Bulletin (March 2021) (AD) we have frozen the length (to reach a cover price agreed with the publisher) and are getting closer to the end. A few elements are outstanding. The contents may have to get cut again if the typesetting affects the page count we have set up. We are trying to collect Plaudits to adorn the back cover, without sending out masses of copies of the text, which would make it too freely available. Rumours have reached us that a rival anthology, Custodial Ragwort , has been set up to include the poets we left out. Edited by Norval Osbick and Fifi Blunkett-Adorno. Naturally they claim that they were first, and we are a splinter group of poets excluded from ‘Ragwort’. Yet a third breakaway/eject anthology, Treuhand Arcade , has been announced, to include little-known poets of the conservative wing. Analysis of Harry's statements [see previous post] shows him listing a whole generation of poets, as the horizon visible from Strongpoint Gilonis. Of our 25 poets, h