The poetry I love tends to have an anchor - a physical set of surroundings and a social environment.
An obvious example might be Peter Sansom, whose work is mainly set in Yorkshire. Such a setting lends a specific sense to his work that opens outwards.
However, my interpetation of an anchor goes much further; Tobias Hill comes to mind at this point. Hill may set a poem in an exotic location, but London is always lurking in the background. Its social strands and physical layout provide an implicit counterpoint for all Hill's poetic wanderings. The reader is aware of London acting as an anchor throughout Hill's work - we know where he's from and we watch him exploring the developments in his relationship with his origins via his encounters with elsewheres.
Everyone has just such origins to affect how they view new experiences. All writers reflect this fact in their work, but Hill seems to do so more consciously than others, using it as part of the inner drive to his poetry. I aspire to something similar in my work, reflecting on an anchor that's inherently part of me. It permeates my poetry, not necessarily having to be openly invoked in every piece. Even when writing about Spain, I do so in the light of where I'm from, who I've been and what social anchors I've dropped.
As in the previous four years, I am posting – over the summer – my reviews of the 5 collections chosen for the Forward Prizes Felix Dennis award for best F...