wrote this many moons ago nothing changed the description of Les Murray reading at the end is true
POETRY IN ENGLAND
There is something about poetry in England That is awfully nay terribly Middle Class Something not quite right in the hands of a worker Sibilants dribbling like snot from the poor man’s nose
Wiping its sleeve on the tasteful tablecloth of power Always waiting to be found out or at least held up As an exemplar of the erudite working class chap Even that Larkin fellow wasn’t a chav was he darling
Then the skirmishes with the Leftist proletarians Or the Rightists in their towers quaffing champers No never quite right, never accepted as kosher Little piggy faces pressed to the literary crown jewels
In 1992 I gate-crashed an Oxford University poetry bash Crept along corridors I had no right to be in After another day serving the arrogant little sods And after much prevarication finally made it in
Les Murray, sitting like an antipodean Buddha Laughing like a Boetian at the Athenian Temple Then he slowly let rip with poems from Dog Fox Field Words circling the pews like a fox in a henhouse
Yesterday evening I submitted to all these with varying degrees of success with the exception of Belle Ombre (which I had never heard of and which seemed a contender for the new Agenda up its own (hare’s) arse award). I got something off to all the rest even the one that I was not supposed to get to i.e. London Review of Books which I worked out later drops subs in the genre they trying to make money on through a competition…nice little capitalist ploy there LRB.
I sent three poems anyway to annoy them.
The rest especially those using submittable were all good. Clear guidance and appeared to know web from elbow. Except Allegro which should win an award for bad usage of out of date blogger and no comprehension of design or fonts. (The editor kindly rejected me already so we evens). The good thing is some decent poems rejected already on the recycle route to be flung elsewhere.
I submitted a whole pamphlet to The North because it a good magazine and it did not say you couldn’t.
London Grip I had heard rumours of through Neil Fulwood and John Lucas connection.
Poetry submitting is a bit like going out to bat without a bat..you take a defensive stance and wait for the hundred mile an hour hard ball of rejection to bounce into your sensitive spot.
The balls get bowled back on average six months later it appears so not losing sleep over some of the more arcane ‘self-publishing and social media’ rules which frankly bullshit invented by people still working out what the internet is.
More frightening is the references to NO AI which like horse and stable door frankly too late most of the crap I seeing around the magazines and the hell for leather publishers is probably already AI induced.
WOODCHIPPER is my Poetry Review founded on the twin principles of unfairness and rigor. Too many cosy nepotistic little middle class magazines sit around the internet being jolly nice to each other and helping each other publish their insanely bad drivel…so here we have WC..
You know it makes sense…….and after WOODCHIPPER comes …
PULP Publishing only our friends in fact not ONLY our friends but also people we like who live nearby….or people who give us lots of money…
This is a kind of auto-biography of myself and my hometown of Didcot where I lived for a good part of 30 years. The title is a reference to the love of country music that my family had instilled in me from a young age and the experience of hearing Dolly Parton at full volume drifting across the estate from the working-men’s club on a saturday night.
If I cannot get a publisher to take this chapbook length collection on I will try and publish as a Horsehoe Press pamphlet.
Potentially in future I would like to publish the poems alongside a sequence of photographs I took in 2011-12 for a multimedia project called TRACK which almost but not quite became a PHD in 2018…
Shaun Belcher was born Oxford, England in 1959 and brought up on a down-land farm before moving to a council estate in the small town of Didcot in 1966 just as England won the world cup..
He studied fine art at Hornsey College of Art, London from 1979–81 where he sat under a tree with Adrian Mitchell.
Began writing poetry in the mid 1980s and subsequently has been published in a number of small magazines and a poem 'The Ice Horses' was used as the title of the Second Shore Poets Anthology in 1996.(Scottish Cultural Press).
He now lives in Nottingham, England after two years in Edinburgh studying folk culture and several years in the city of expiring dreams working as a minion at the University of Oxford.
He is currently enjoying retirement from 20 years of teaching and hopes to write something on a regular basis again. He has been involved in various literary projects including delivering creative writing workshops in Nottingham prison for the ‘Inside Out’ project.
He supports Arsenal football club.
Favourite colours therefore red and green like his politics.
We have not won the world cup again since 1966 and Shaun Belcher is not as famous as Simon Armitage although his songs are better.