Showing posts from February, 2024

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