Dave Coates – Dave Poems

Here’s a great stock-taking post by Dave Coates at his poetry review blog’s 50th review milestone.

I’m struck by the man’s humility and his commitment to refining and developing his intelligence; he clearly keeps healthy company.

Some of the several stand-out sentences for me in this post I couldn’t help picking out:

a sort of coming to grips with agency and personal professional responsibility here –
‘When I started out four years ago […] I wrote about poems the way I wrote about films, or video games, as if poetry in these islands was a multinational billion-dollar market and my voice only one in a million.’

in a section about privilege and privileging of certain sorts of poetry in a lumpen prizes/awards system –
‘Poems that challenge our basic assumptions about the people around us require more time and thought – and run a greater risk of being misunderstood or simply ignored – than those that build upon or even exploit these prejudices.’

and I love the ghost archaic meaning of ‘awful’ as awe-inducing here –
‘Something that the best or most disruptive poetry does is highlight that the world, in more ways than we often care to acknowledge, is strange and awful. ‘

He’s also good on the implicit misogyny of the platitude ‘masterful’ applied to poetry. It’s a good post! YES! *feeling inspired*

Dave Poems.

So recently this site passed fifty reviews (or so), and I’ve been thinking over a kind of ‘what is this blog really about’ post for a while. Which might be a mistake. Here goes.

First, thanks to the folks who shared my work with a large audience for the first time and gave the first words of encouragement, without you I probably would’ve packed it in long ago. The number of people I owe for their thoughtfulness, their patience, their time and their good advice makes my head spin. I’m awfully lucky. Otherwise, thank you (yes, you) so much for reading.

When I started out four years ago, and up until relatively recently, I wrote about poems the way I wrote about films, or video games, as if poetry in these islands was a multinational billion-dollar market and my voice only one in a million. I felt like there was little consequence to…

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