Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

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On the solicited and unsolicited issue, you say on your home page: “I don’t want to risk getting carried away and becoming so busy and pressured that fun is replaced by stress, so I won’t, I’m afraid, be able to respond to unsolicited submissions. I’ll confine myself to approaching poets as and when I am ready. (I am nonetheless open to third party suggestions and recommendations and will, of course, be keeping my ears to the ground.) This seems jolly sensible to me (I speak as someone who is almost permanently overwhelmed). But although publishers do find good poets, or someone else will recommend them, it worries me a little that for someone with no track record of friends in poetry world it looks like a closed ‘club’. I don’t expect you to solve this problem personally, but I do wonder how you feel about it.

But isn’t the ‘clubby’ aspect the same in any field of interest? I can imagine how excluding things can appear to someone outside, but my feeling is that if someone is serious about their art form they will inevitably make contacts and/or be familiar with the world of that art. Poets will probably read widely, attend readings and workshops, make contacts and get a feel for how things operate in the poetry world. They won’t be complete outsiders just appearing fully formed (whatever certain blurbs might want us to believe). And for those people who say they don’t read others’ work because they don’t want to be influenced (yes I’ve heard that a few times) I say, that’s fine but do you realise how much you’re limiting yourself?