Other people’s poems

Joey Connolly, currently interning at Carcanet and also one of the editors of the gorgeously named new poetry/arts magazine Kaffeeklatsch (click here to visit their rather stylish website) has written a great piece for the Carcanet blog about the Manchester launch of the New Poetries V anthology, including video clips of the readings (by Rory Waterman and William Letford as well as me). In addition to reading our own poems, we all read some poems by other contributors to the anthology, and the three of us were discussing afterwards what an interesting experience this was – trying to ‘get inside’ someone else’s poem, so that you can work out how to read it, and quite often being surprised – even in mid-reading – by the poem’s sudden revelations of aspects of itself you hadn’t previously been aware of. I’ve found actually that this is also something that can happen when you’re reading, to an audience, one of your own poems –  it’s a very exciting moment when the poem seems to spring into an independent kind of life in the very moment when you are, as you think, merely ‘reading it’, in the sense of reading out something that’s already there. Perhaps all poems – even one’s own – are in this sense ‘someone else’s poems’… or perhaps a better way of putting this is that if a poem is any good, then it isn’t and couldn’t be completely determined by, or answerable to, its author. Anyway, click here for Joey’s piece about the launch.