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January 17, 2011


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It sounds so spiffy, vacating in Europe & touching base with ex-pat experimental poetry experts, middle-age crazees, teaching at university, advocating we wannabes go get our heads blown off, intellectually turned on by exciting experimental & creative collections few read, fewer buy and, lets be honest, in the main, are written by academic poet 'outsiders' who are a laughing stock among our lyric peers; treated with disdain and, all in all, being honest, most of us, highly uninventive, derivative, same-old unspeculative same-as, tried and tested 'academic', unexperimental 'us' of a loada shite, innit..

[[[[[CRAZEEE SHIT]]]]]

Oh, sorry, no offence, a very few up 'emselves colleagues-in-bore, that's experimental syntax & grammer performing on a visual field, spelling innit & wow, look no hands, in our first 'home' from whence such jolly japes spout forth out of our gobs, our toffie-minded & class obsessed heads, bunched-up in clusters of blurbling mobile class minds working upwardly, us whose dream is to not be our first self, but to sound exactly, speak, act, talk & be as, Lord Minty & Lady Buffy ...what, what..Your Highness Muse, majestic queen the music in what happens, like ya'll so phwoar, eh, wickle urghm, un-with it, not knowing Amergin's 7C, first-translated-in-1979, prose-poem, cauldron of poetry written by an anonymous hand, decanting a collective mind, whole tradition, attitude, belief, culture and custom - 1000 years in print by the time of Shakespeare - rooting whatever the spelling, whichever route in the fame-making paraphernalia is, our experimental poetic prose source, as you know; if & when it turns up at a forward contemporary edge of the online page, at forums online, in America & England; it tends to receive a silent response, or, at best, sniffy attempt to engage in one-liner 'debate', discussions batting about back and forth, frightfully self-styled know-all poetry experts & ollamhs one wishes to bow, supplicate, act-out unreality, fantasy and make-believe in Letters with, our prayer to be swapped, cordially respected and most importantly, shared; not slung out sharpish by ptb non-entities in the AmPo apparatus, in charge, controlling what appears and is deemed, 'experimental' in our oh soo achingly important forums, just because the power/s that be, 'experimental' american-english poetry mm's 'n all-stars, not knowing all is reverse, as per ogham, in a poem's foundation, at this poetic soource none of us hipsters are prepared to acknowledge, greet, hail, bother our arse to notice, respond to, tolerate; and not because it is beneath our intelligence to do so, but because it is truly 'experimental', based on a bardic course, re-discovered by what was heard in hard slog, not pissing about in corridors pretending to an audience of kids, that we're tha ya'll, experimental (non) practioners (un) knowing Anonymous the authored, untitled 'cauldron of poetry' one spent the last five (of ten) years trying to get you to fecking read, clever clog American english mad-heads faking yous iz 'experimental' language..

talk about

debating chambers

Authorial His ridden holt.

1923 - t.s. bummingson. exper-i-mental modern tosser off of what's yet to be, currently unknown, cutting edge, innocuous language you wanna erase coz it's all so fecking experimental, innit, ye dawgs...

Donal Shures

Hello Meryl,

I admit it took me a few passes to grasp your points. So you succeeded at the "poetry" part of your reply. I'll ignore the personal slight at the top and clarify that I did not find much experimental poetry at the readings I attended in London during that admittedly short period of time I "vacated" (cute!) there, which is why I was pleased to meet Carrie. Which is why I've been interested in finding out what's being written in the UK that might be considered "experimental."

My guess is since your "mainstream" poetry differs from ours, your "experimental" work would differ as well. I may be wrong, but I'm willing to do the work of pulling together a folio of about a dozen poets from the UK whose work hasn't been featured in America and take a close look.

Of course the Modernists shook everything up. I doubt you'd find a single "experimental" poet who doesn't know this, who doesn't riff on it, thumb her nose at it, etc.

I love this: "not knowing all is reverse, as per ogham" It's a beautiful phrase, but it implies there's only one way to get at the mystery. I don't agree. If all is reverse, who's to say where the reversing ends?

I've got a feeling you already know this, but "experimental" poetry certainly is read and taught here in America. As is the "mainstream" (just check Billy Collins' and Mary Oliver's sale numbers!) Is it read and taught there in the UK, or, as Carrie seemed to say, it's certainly being written there, but tends not to appear on the shortlists for the big prizes. Interesting, that. I've been told by a number of poets who live in the UK that there's a bit of heat there on the topic (echoed in your reply.)

What's that about? It can't be as simple as the Cauldron of Poesy argument. Or the academic vs. street poetry argument. Or even the friend faction argument. What does "experimental" work from the UK look like, and would American poets call it such? And who would care if they didn't, come to think of it? The avant garde pushes and irritates. That's their yob, dawg (no "ye" before it.)

Anyway, your reply was a great read. I appreciate it and hope there's more to come.

Some of the most lively poetry readings I’ve been involved with occurred in the UK. Try Openned ( in London. And their list of readings ( SoundEye in Cork was also great fun ( For a good bit of online history a good place to begin is or the Great Work website
Anyway, just a start. A few places from which to launch.
Take care,

Thank you very much for this information, Jim. I'll be following up on all of it as I proceed.

Yes Les, 'it's certainly being written' here, 'but tends not to appear on the shortlists for the big prizes' because there's no Bernstein equivalent, center of experimental poetry, successor to the Crown of the Concrete School Bob Cobbing created, was and which, like Bernstein, transcended provincial British avant circles of interest, because he was sincere and genuine, an interesting, not ersatz crazee; and total nutjob artist who'd walk into the gallery and start making loud noises, Concrete Poetry, theatrically throwing his arms out and psychically reading the room as he mooed, absorbing its energy and having a great laugh, keeping a straight face, getting away with it.


As for the 'bit of heat here on the topic' of an underperforming academic cohort of cutting edge experimentalist doctors of poetry on the pause in Beckett and use of scatological semi-colons in Joyce, so I've been told by a number of poets who live in the UK, saying

God is concept
with which we measure
our pain.

I'll say it again.

Got is a concept
with which we measure
our pain.

Lennon's 'poem' God

I don't believe in magic,
I don't believe in I-ching,
I don't believe in bible,
I don't believe in tarot,
I don't believe in Hitler,
I don't believe in Jesus,
I don't believe in Kennedy,
I don't believe in Buddha,
I don't believe in mantra,
I don't believe in Gita,
I don't believe in yoga,
I don't believe in kings,

A very modern piece, very very powerful, not least because John's natural, resounding, poetic truth, as Lennon knew it, makes a very powerful statement, as an Englishman from Liverpool who slew off the cultural chains that, when on, held him back from fulfilling his potential, understanding, grace, accumulating knowledge, streaming poetic inspiration as milk from the breast,
that is the tide-water point of knowledge
union of sages
stream of sovereignty
glory of the lowly
mastery of words
swift understanding
reddening satire
craftsman of histories
cherishing pupils
looking after binding principles
distinguishing the intricacies of language
moving toward music
propagation of good wisdom
enriching nobility
ennobling non-nobles
exalting names
relating praises
through the working of law
comparing of ranks
pure weighing of nobility
with fair words of the wise
with streams of sages,
the noble brew in which is boiled
the true root of all knowledge
which bestows after duty
which is climbed after diligence
which poetic ecstasy sets in motion
which joy turns
which is revealed through sorrow;
and is lasting power
undiminishing protection.

Come 'sing of the Cauldron of Motion' Ms McGrath, know good is the well of measuring

good is the dwelling of speech
good is the confluence of power
which builds up strength.

It is greater than every domain
it is better than every inheritance,
it brings one to knowledge
adventuring away from ignorance.


It's all there in black and white, and when one is into cut-ups at the quantum psychic steering of our source to speak and ask, do you know in human joy there are four divisions among the wise?

Sexual intimacy; the joy of health untroubled by the abundance of goading when a person takes up the prosperity of bardcraft; the joy of the binding principle of wisdom after good (poetic) construction; and, joy of fitting poetic frenzy from the grinding away at the fair nuts of the nine hazels on the Well of Segais in the Sidhe realm. They cast themselves in great quantities like a ram's fleece upon the ridges of the Boyne, moving against the stream swifter than racehorses driven in the middle-month on the magnificent day every seven years.

The Gods touch a person through divine and human joys so that they are able to speak prophetic poems and dispense wisdom and perform miracles, as well as offering wise judgment and giving precedents and wisdom in answer to everyone's wishes. But the source of these joys (the Gods) is outside the person although the actual cause of the joy is internal.

Segais within McGrath, Les my dearest dearie luv, c'mon over, drop the prize side-show and give it to me, crazee..


Take no notice Leslie, I'm only riffing.

The guess that 'since your "mainstream" poetry differs from ours, your "experimental" work would differ as well' - is correct, in the most general of terms. Yes, there is a lot of imitation goes on, both sides of the pond, so yes, in that sense, supeficially if poet X uses white space a lot, harnesses that and some non traditional topographical pronunciations to communicate [[[[[CRAZEEE]]]]] stuff, there'll be enough fooled to think they're onto the real free jazz; like Bernstein, king of the crazees, who was the one star in the firmament of langpo, doing his own thing, his cynosure so bright he drew all round him to take note, that tho, on the face of it, Berstein writes stuff that the lyric titans with good prose skills, able to trot out the homely patter of an at-home, in-place volunteer obviously bonkers ourselves, than er, no, is the answer, to the question of are we the same; because tho there are surface similarities, eg, the academies being were it happens, the big difference is, Bernie aint English, but an American living in New York, and because he is the Segais source of AmPo, in some sense, for the purpose of this grift, then yes, yes it is also er..sorry, what was the question?

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