Poetry Section | clivejames.com
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As with the Essays section, this Poetry section began from the idea of simply making available any poem I had recently written which I thought might eventually appear in book form. Once again as with the Essays, the less insular idea soon occurred to me that I should be providing also a mini-anthology from other practitioners that I admired, so that they, if not I, might provide the visitor with an adamantine standard. Hence the Guest Poets, all of them still alive at the time I write this, although I already have my eye on some of the dead, who might eventually appear under some such general heading as Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors. Except, of course, that they have never been forgotten, and what they built to last is nothing like a shadow.

Also in this section, under the heading Lyrics, is a group of links to various topics associated with the texts I have written for the music of Pete Atkin over the course of more than forty years. There are various chapters of a Poetry Notebook that I continue to publish from time to time in Poetry (Chicago) and other outlets, and there is a guide (painstakingly assembled by Cécile Menon) to the articles on poetry collected in my various early books of criticism as represented on the site, so that the reader can link straight through to those articles without going around the houses. At that point things get a bit confusing, but I really do intend to sort it all out one day, and arrange things neatly, with clear demarcations. For the moment, however, the reader must take my assurance, until the fact becomes evident, that the individual poem, whether by me or someone else, is the driving force of this section and indeed of the entire site. The site is a saturated solution. The poem is the speck that makes the whole thing crystallise.

Gateway to the Poetry Section [2006]

In my role as proprietor I have put myself at the head of the list of poets on the right. A click on my name will lead to most of the work in poem form that I have done since The Book of My Enemy came out in 2003. Eventually most of these poems will be collected into a further book, at which point they will probably vanish from the screen until such time as the book goes out of print, whereupon they will reappear. But I sincerely hope that there will always be more poems than a current book can hold, even if I have to send them through from the beyond. I have always had at least one new poem in the works ever since I began to write, and I wouldn’t want to be stopped by a little thing like lack of oxygen.

Ranked below my name, in their order of joining, are the names of guest poets who have generously agreed to see a short selection of their work included on this website. Each is represented by ten poems. In every case the author has done the choosing, from work either already published in book form or else waiting to be published in the near future. Most of them are young enough to have future in abundance. (“They crowd us from the world,” said Pushkin.) The aim is to build up a gallery of poets whose work interests me so much that I don’t see why it shouldn’t interest everybody else as well, even people who don’t habitually read poetry. They would, I think, if it were all like this.

Eventually I am going to look pretty frail, limping along at the head of such a glittering procession, but if I have to retire to a roadside café I hope to get some credit for having once been the man in charge.