Which stream do you swim in?

There are perennial discussions in a frequently frequented forum about ‘mainstream’ and ‘non-mainstream’ poetry – or indeed MS and NMS poets.  I don’t pretend to understand the literary niceties which differentiate one from the other, and frankly a lot of these discussions go from name-dropping to name-calling without generating anything logical or meaningful. (And being an ex-scientist I’m usually on Spock’s side, Captain). 

I think I can distinguish between ‘conventional’ and ‘non-conventional’  poetry however, and I was at a reading last night in Edinburgh’s Word Power bookshop which featured four outstanding poets, none of whom are wholly conventional in style or content. It was one of the best readings I’ve attended in ages, and it proved to me once again that even so-called ‘difficult’ poems can be understood if read well – and these were. So, many thanks to David Kinloch, Peter McCarey, Sandy Hutchison, and Richard Price.

While I was in the bookshop I got the flyer for the 13th Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair (of which more later).  I’m not sure if Calder Wood Press is radical, but it’s certainly independent, so my titles will be there.

About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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6 Responses to Which stream do you swim in?

  1. Rachel Fox says:

    Discussions on forums…mostly I’d rather go for a walk in fresh air. And is there such a thing as a mainstream poet? Maybe once they’re dead. Most living poets I’ve met/heard/read are either completely in their own stream or (at most) in a fairly small stream with maybe one or two others.
    McMillan, Vettese and I all read to a big, broad audience last night (in a small town)…and the audience loved it. So are we mainstream? No, most of the time….on so many levels…and then a tiny bit yes…and then lots more nos…
    Best just forget it all and on with the poems, the show…the cabaret, darling (sorry, still in Strictly mode…).
    Very tired…ellipsis fever at all time high

  2. sunnydunny says:

    Yes, these high-lit. discussions are mostly over my head. I got involved in one recently about dialect poetry, because I know something about that. But I don’t like categorising people. Too much like stamp collecting – so-and-so’s better than such-and-such because she’s got more perforations…

    BTW, these five words Hope gave you would all ring big bells with me.

    I’m a bit ground down now, trying to fix an Internet Explorer prob on my wife’s PC, and failing. Where’s my inner geek when I need him?

  3. Rachel Fox says:

    High lit? They’d like to think so.

    You need an outer geek. Speaking of perforations I’m just making a morning cuppa for mine and then off we go to see the heathens.

  4. Barbara S says:

    Ms and Non Ms – for a moment there I thought you were talking about the lack, or otherwise of a manuscript.

    Personally I shirk from categorising poetry, except into categories of ‘I like it’ and ‘I don’t like it.’ Good poetry – now that’s one I know: it makes me feel envious – I wish I’d written that 🙂

  5. Davide Trame says:

    Dear Colin, I have written a post about submission problems and doubts, your contribution would be highly appreciated.

  6. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks Davide. I’ve left a comment.

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