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.