Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Caterpillar Poetry Draws to a Close

I won't be continuing with Caterpillar Poetry in 2020.  There are many reasons, not least a continuing alienation from a UK poetry scene in which poetry is seen as more of a component in wider social agendas, decreasingly concerned with the artistic and linguistic, increasingly characterized by rant-based readings. I tried to use Caterpillar Poetry as a means of publishing the work of lesser known poets, and to create associated community arts ventures which would bring all kinds of poetry to the fore at local and not so local levels. In almost all of this, I largely failed.  Books were published (including my own), events successfully put on.  But the costs, and labryinthine processes of funding applications, especially from the Arts Council, usually tailored to specific ideological criteria, proved too difficult to navigate for one with limited time and experience.  More personally, I was saddened by the extent to which poets known to me, who would regularly (not least through their poetry) express their own strong views about social justice showed absolutely no interest, let alone solidarity, when I recently confided in a number of them about my private fears and concerns regarding racism and the rise of political extremism, including from, but not limited to, the Labour Party. I've had many good times on the poetry readings circuit, and enjoyed much of what I've tried to do with Caterpillar Poetry on this site and beyond, but there comes a time to draw a close to most things, and the turning of a corner into a new decade seems the right time to do so here.

In due course I will be setting up a new blog or website promoting my own work, and a new publishing venture. It is also my intention to continue writing essays about poetry, but mainly for external publication, and collating them for inclusion in prospective books.  I've removed a fair few essays from this site  - including some touching on the poetry of politics (or the politics of poetry?) - for incorporation into forthcoming publications.  Other pieces may go also, if accepted by magazines and such, though in most cases I'm aiming to retain the body of this blog in more or less its current form, with the existing essays playing the part of draft versions rather than vanishing altogether.
I've tried to use this blog as both a record of my own progress (or lack of it) and a platform on which to explore and celebrate poetic voices from around the globe. Few posts have recieved more than a few hundred views, but I know from some of the comments, and from personal correspondence, that I've managed to bring some of the less recognized poetic talents of the world to at least a few appreciative eyes over the last five and a half years, and for that, at least, I am happy.