Between 2003 and 2015, Arts Council England awarded £13,229,179 for poetry projects under the Grants for the Arts scheme.

My pamphlet RETURNS is published by If a Leaf Falls Press, in a run of 30. Apparently now sold out, copies are available from me if you want one: charleswhalley at gmail dot com.

Review of SJ Fowler’s ‘{Enthusiasm}’

My review of SJ Fowler’s collection {Enthusiasm} is published on Sabotage. This has taken me months to finish, so I’m grateful (as ever) to the patience of my editors. It’s an interesting book coming in what seems to be an exciting time for Test Centre, who are publishing consistently good stuff. I’m glad it exists.

In the review, as well as discussing the ‘mainstream’ as a necessary fiction, I describe what I think a real contemporary successor to the historical avant-garde would be: weird and uncool; written by/representing the marginalised; probably unconcerned with the rarefied theorising that weirdos like myself enjoy; and, most importantly, coming from within a broader context of political activism within the literary community in a way that addresses poetry’s position in society. I also look at the troubles with contemporary poetry that positions itself as ‘avant-garde’, and how that positioning, almost in itself, demonstrates the problem of its institutionalisation. In short, I argue that a contemporary avant-garde (or, rather, poetry furthering the avant-garde’s historical aims) might be possible, but that {Enthusiasm} isn’t it.

It’s perhaps a little unfair of me to use a review as a starting point for a discussion that ultimately condemns the book in question, when, for the review itself, the book deserves to be praised. However, Fowler’s book, and his positioning of his work, are a provocation towards some useful thinking. Hopefully it’s not just me who’s interested.

Contributor fees for poetry book reviews — survey

I tweeted recently about which situations poetry critics could reasonably asked to be paid for their writing, and how much. As part of this discussion, it seemed clear that an easy way by which we could help would be to establish a minimum rate that critics/reviewers could expect, and an idea of which publications it would be reasonable to expect payment from.

In first conversations, a few people mentioned that all publications with some funding and/or national circulation should be able to pay, and at ~£100 per 1,000 words at minimum. However, this felt like it was arrived at somewhat arbitrarily.

Therefore, I’m collecting submissions on how much (if anything) writers have been paid for book reviews/criticism/essays by poetry magazines or websites in the past. This will only ever be published anonymously (if at all).

Please follow this link to submit a form on how much you’ve been paid for your writing. Please fill in the form and send once for each fee you’d like to record. If you don’t like forms or this form in particular, or if you’ve any other comments, or if you just want to send me an email, you can do that instead:

‘Happiness’ by Jack Underwood

By order of appearance:

onion (halved); nut-like; melon; apple; nuts; apple; coconut halves; gumball; cauliflower; seeds; eggs; plum; egg; tomato; seeds; egg-knife; yolk; egg; slices of lime; seed; onion; lemony; seeds; the rind of something citrus; yolk; grapes; hollowed pumpkin; chestnut; beet; garlic; eggs.

(Also: asparagus; gherkins; crab; cake; fish; banana; banana; banana; banana; steak; fudge; chip; biscuit; leg of lamb; frozen lamb.)

“I can say these things, I say”

Last week, Craig Raine was “trending alongside Andy Coulson and Rafael Benitez”, after his poem in the London Review of Books was ridiculed on Twitter. The poet Andrea Brady, for instance, tweeted: “Not content merely to underrepresent women authors, @LRB wants to repulse those who read it”. I tweeted the photo that I took on my morning train, and was being asked for comment by a journalist after lunch.

Continue reading