Anthony Wilson and the disappearing poets.


Piero Heliczer (1937 – 1993)

Reading the Faber Poetry Introduction series is to come face to face with the reality that whatever promise individual poets are seen to display early in their ‘careers’ this is not always borne to full fruition over the passage of time, even if we do not measure ourselves on the Porsche-index. I wonder why this is so?

Anthony Wilson considers the disappearance of poets, or the failure to achieve “success”, given the news that Salt will no longer be publishing single-author collections.

Let’s look again at the roll call of names in Poetry

Introduction 6: Susannah Amoore, Shirley Bell, Simon Curtis, Alan Dewar, Stephen Knight, Sarah Lawson, R.A. Maitre, Bernard O’Donoghue: they should all be household names by now, shouldn’t they? Isn’t that the premise of such books? This is not to justify the slow emergence and even disappearance of some of these voices, but to point out that career-paths in poetry are as non-linear as everyone else’s.

Although I’m very happy to say that Shirley Bell is now in great form and currently finishing her MA in Creative Writing here at Lincoln (plug, plug).

It can be a dispiriting activity, checking the names of the disappeared, the never-quite-made-it, the made-it-early-then-vanished, the made-it-for-a-long-time-but-then-got-forgotten, etc. You need the hide of a rhino and the stiffest of Victorian upper lips to keep going in this business.

Ah, well, such is life.


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