Thursday, May 15, 2008


Very pleased indeed to mark the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Bloodaxe Books, a marvellous success story in publishing, who have pioneered a revolution in poetry in the UK and beyond, producing popular works that reach out beyond the barricades to find an enthusiastic audience.

Founder Neil Astley gave this controversial speech at StAnza, which bills iteslf as 'Scotland's Poetry Festival in 2005, which captures the spirited defence of a new approach to poetry which Bloodaxe have fostered and nourished succesfully for three decades - a huge achievement.

This post was triggerd by by my friend Lin Heyworth, whose poems have appeared in The Generalist, who lent me Bloodaxe's recent publication of Janet Frame's poems. (See Previous Post CULT MOVIES: COEN BROS & VHS ADVENTURES on the movie of Janet Frame's life by Jane Campion)

I phoned Bloodaxe to ask for permission to reproduce a poem. Apparently these poems are handled by the Andrew Wylie Agency, to whom I would have to apply for permission - but I could reproduce six lines but not a complete six-line poem.

I was torn between two quotes but have chosen this extract from 'Some of My Friends Are Excellent Poets.'

Poetry has not room for timidity of tread
tiptoeing in foot prints already made
running afraid of the word-stranger glimpsed out of the corner of the eye

barking in the wilderness. Poetry is the time for the breaking of habits good or bad

a breaking free of memory and yesterday
to face the hunting that is.

(the column width on this blog doesn't allow lines 3 and 4 to stretch out to their full extent)

Most poetry I find hard to comprehend. Janet Frame's work speaks to me.

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