I wrote an evil review last night and the editor of the anthology I'd rubbished immediately hit back and accused me of laziness and ignorance. Next time, he told my editor, get someone who can read.
Laziness? I read the whole damn thing from cover to cover and it left me feeling authentically depressed. The work wasn't McGonagall-bad (it would have been more fun if it had been) it was just relentlessly middle-of-the-road and high-mindedly poetic and utterly without humour. Tired- like a heap of rain-sodden cardboard boxes. I kept tripping across phrases like "refracted memories" and "all the sky distils into a rose."
It's funny how vicious the literary world can be. And how seriously we take ourselves. This guy I've fallen out with runs something next door to being a vanity press (the people who submit their work to his website have just voted him the "highly-coveted title" of People's Poet for 2004) so, non, je ne regrette rien- but still I marvel at the amount of dust that has been raised. Why did I bother to write the review? Why did Gerald bother to print it? Why did Alan Corkish bother to snap back?- I suppose because we all believe that Poetry (with a capital P) is important.
The phrase "weasels fighting in a sack" comes to mind.
Corkish isn't letting the matter rest. He has fired off a second letter to Gerald (more in sorrow than in anger) and I'm having a hard job stopping myself getting drawn back in.
I understand what Pope must have felt when he wrote the Dunciad. Not that I'm comparing myself to Pope of course*.
Here's what it says on the back cover. "their poetic words form a celebration of the human spirit and weave a tapestry of insight that is breathtaking in its perception and richness; an anthology you will savour for a lifetime."
You see- I had no choice.....
* I am really