So I have come to the end of my residency at the Poetry School. It has been a lot of fun, lots of writing in the evening, lots of editing in the wee weekend hours. A great opportunity, and thanks to all of the staff at the Poetry School for being so supportive and encouraging.
I’ve spent the last month decreeing that the Internet is the new frontier for poetry, and try to round up a few people to boldly go with me. Luckily, CAMPUS is a good example of how this worked, so it was a good medium for the message. But I was truly surprised how many people were keen to find out more about this and what it meant for the poetry world and what it could mean for their poetry. The group who were involved in the hackwriting assignment were so keen to take the ‘uncreative’ approach and use found text and to lace it through their poems. Not only were they open to embracing practices that, amongst recent plagiarism issues, seemed controversial, but they were bloody good at it.
I was also asked along to the first Poetry School PhD festival – where different students presented their thesis ideas to a keen crowd. Normally, I would have thought the idea of a ‘poem noir’ or the poetry arctic exploration would have been my cup of poetry, but both lectures were fascinating, as were the seminars by Tara Bergin on the archive in poetry and Janet Rogerson on Frank O’Hara.
This journey – of starting from a very insular activity of writing my thoughts on a page and then ending with sharing my thoughts with a group of strangers – seemed apt. What I had realised during writing my articles, essays, workshops and posts, was that I wanted to merge these two worlds closer together. I had always planned to start up my Selected Poems reading series again, but now I may have a direction – to a series of poetry readings, with a very short (5 minute) lecture on poetry by me, followed by 4-6 readers.
However, saying that, I will be pleased to focus on my own work more in the coming months. The residency has been great in giving me the creative space to think about poetry, but I would like to write about (and around) some of these ideas and, on above all, write some bloody poems.
Alex MacDonald lives and works in London. He has had his poetry published in The Quietus, Clinic II and English PEN and was shortlisted for the Poetry School / Pig Hog Poetry Pamphlet Competition. He hosted a series of readings at the V&A Museum on independent poetry publishers. He is currently Digital Poet in Residence at the Poetry School.