New Writing In Various Forms, edited by Michael Blackburn

The Review is now on permanent sabbatical.

Many thanks to those who contributed.

The rest, as the man said, is silence.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

The Echo Room and The Poetry of the 1980s

The poet Brendan Cleary talks about the poetry revival in Britain during the 1980s and what inspired him to start 'The Echo Room', which became one of the seminal magazines of the decade. The anthology he mentions right at the beginning of the clip is 'In Dark Times', which is a selection of
poems from the first 10 years of 'The Echo Room' . As such it is the most representative anthology of that time. And unfortunately out of print.

The period from 1985 to 1995 witnessed a wide-scale, provincial revival of poetry at a grass roots level in Britain, much of it produced as a reaction to the social, political and economic conflicts of the time.

This revival was, as Brendan says, a kind of loose affiliation between poets and small press editors up and down the country. It was a de-centralised renewal of poetry which caught the metropolitan establishment completely by suprise. Without this initial revival, which raised the public profile of

poets and poetry for the first time in a couple of decades, there would definitely have been no 'New Generation' Poets, no media blather about the 'Poetry Boom', and possibly no Forward Prize and National Poetry Day either.

None of this is acknowledged and neither is the work of dozens of poets who made it happen. The establishment recovered its ground and continued the usual game of promoting a handful of star poets. This was a period of poetry productivity in the UK as important as, if not more important than that of the 1960s. The real history needs to be recorded. This video forms part of my effort to form an archive relating to that period.

The sound quality on this clip is OK, but the visuals are rough. But it's better than nothing.

Copies of Brendan's poetry collections can be bought on Amazon.

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