The Best British Poetry 2013: Numbers

Roddy Lumsden notes in the Foreword that Poetry London published the biggest share of poems anthologised in The Best British Poetry 2013 “for the third year in succession”. Of the 68 poems in the anthology:

Source magazine distribution

Source magazine distribution (click to enlarge)

Clinic is remarkably well represented, with its poems by Sam Buchan-Watts, Harry Burke, Charlotte Geater, and Sam Riviere.

As for the overall gender distribution of The Best British Poetry 2013‘s 68 poems:

Gender distribution

Gender distribution (apologies for its crudeness)

I was hoping to be especially uncharitable and look at poets’ ages, but too few (quite sensibly) gave their birth dates in the biographical notes and I’m not interested enough to research further.

Kim Kardashian’s Marriage and post-internet poetry: review notes

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I have a review of Sam Riviere’s latest (and now unavailable) poetry project, Kim Kardashian’s Marriage, up on Sabotage, in which I discuss post-internet poetry and alt lit, and briefly mention Steve Roggenbuck, Diane Marie, Crispin Best, Shaun Gannon, and Sian Rathore. There is are an awful lot more poets I could’ve mentioned, fading increasingly from the overtly (and self-avowedly) ‘alt lit’ and into conventional poetry communities, which is mostly evidence of its growing influence on poets (mostly under the age of 40).

In my review I use “post-internet poetry” rather than, say, “internet poetry” or “alt lit”. The latter two designations are quite specific, whereas using post-internet brings in some relevant critical discourse from visual arts and implies the incorporation of some of the devices of “internet poetry” and flarf back into something resembling conventional lyric. (Flarf has been ‘mainstream’ since 2009, supposedly.)

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Review in Under the Radar 11: Morgan Harlow’s ‘Midwest Ritual Burning’ and Anne Stevenson’s ‘Astonishment’

(This review first appeared in Under the Radar 11.)

Two collections and more than two voices: Morgan Harlow’s Midwest Ritual Burning; Anne Stevenson’s Astonishment.

I am in Reading Central Library and I am thinking about voice in poems. (This is an example of my voice.) I often suspect voice of being a writing circle cliché, of being too often prefixed by ‘your’, as a vague quality which writers, we’re told, must try to develop. Voice is certainly troublesome as it means somehow to ground language in a source, which is something language, by its nature, is continually trying to resist. In thinking about poems we need, rather, to think about voice from the point-of-view of the reader, and how the reader identifies a voice. For this end, I have two quite different collections from two American poets: Morgan Harlow’s Midwest Ritual Burning and Anne Stevenson’s Astonishment. Midwest Ritual Burning is Harlow’s debut collection; Astonishment is Stevenson’s sixteenth, following (amongst other publications) a Selected Poems edited by Andrew Motion. Midwest Ritual Burning is published by Eyewear Publishing, poet Todd Swift’s new venture; Astonishment is published by Bloodaxe. Even so, in both there is much to consider about what we mean by voice. I’ll start with the younger poet.

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Review of Diane Marie’s ‘i wrote a poem dedicated to god that i considered extremely disrespectful’

I have a review of Diane Marie‘s i wrote a poem dedicated to god that i considered extremely disrespectful on Sabotage today. I saw her read from it in Oxford recently, as well as an ebook based on Brand New lyrics called OK I BELIEVE YOU, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DIE which is also rather good.

In other news, a review of Morgan Harlow’s Midwest Ritual Burning and Anne Stevenson’s Astonishment has gone to appear in the next issue of Under the Radar.

Review in Under the Radar 10: Roy Marshall’s Gopagilla, Aly Stoneman’s Lost Lands, Richie McCaffery’s Spinning Plates Niall Campbell’s After the Creel Fleet

(This first appeared in Under the Radar issue 10.)

Poems are discontent; poems fidget, as they are uncertain and dissatisfied with where they are or what they are up to or what they’d like to tell you about it. Any poem which professes certainty, or the ability to express itself clearly, is a liar. I think this is the most important thing to keep in mind, especially when reading new poets. (Older poets have their own forms of tiredness.) It is how poets deal with their familiar and their unfamiliar spaces that create poems which the reader can get involved in, and this is something I would like to explore.

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