The argument for DIY poetry
By Pete Donohue
If you want to get your message across you need to get up, stand up. No one else will do it for you. Speak up, speak out and speak your own truth.
There are countless volumes, both slim and fat, of corporate publishing-sponsored poetry out there. I’m not going to argue a lot of it is pretentious crap but I am going to say a lot of it is not for me – and from what I can gather, not for the vast majority of discerning readers either.
Many of us are poets, most of us are ignored – by the mainstream I mean, whatever mainstream may mean. That’s not because we’re lacking something new, interesting, important and often profound to say. Often, it’s because we are unaware of the best ways to get our work across to those who may appreciate it most.
Working in isolation is tough yet is often the default position of our most creative brothers and sisters. Confidence is key, along with self-belief, overcoming fear of criticism and a propensity for accepting creative change and evolution.
A successful advocate of the DIY route to self-expression is Sussex-based poet, alternative musician and socialist campaigner for a better world, Attila The Stockbroker. He’s been writing his own rules for close to four decades now; learning, teaching, inspiring and battling along the way.
In his recent autobiography Arguments Yard Attila tells us, “I’m constantly meeting talented people with great ideas who haven’t yet got the DIY message and are waiting for other people to ‘discover’ them…as long as you can stay true to yourself go for it.”
In Hastings & St Leonards we have a longstanding culture of doing just that – going for it. Local poetry nights to look out for are: Sheer Poetry at Bookbusters independent bookstore every third Thursday of the month; Slam Dunk at The Printworks every last Thursday of the month; regular poetry nights at Borough Wines; and occasional poetry nights at The Bookkeeper in St Leonards. For further details check out their website or facebook page:
www.facebook.com/bluegreenearthbooks – (Sheer poetry @ Bookbuster)
www.boroughwines.co.uk – (Hastings)