Sunday, 25 April 2010

Creative routes

I noticed a great post by Jane Holland the other day over on Raw Light, reflecting on "The Creative Writing Generation".

Jane quotes an interesting review of Identity Parade that invokes this term, and I agree entirely with her comments. Let's take the example of myself: I'm sure I'd be far more widely published if I'd had a well-connected mentor or if I'd done the right Creative Writing M.A., while they might also have ironed out many of my clunky faults, saving me from many of my most time-consuming mistakes.

Nevertheless, I've always felt that such help might have indirectly endangered two things I treaure: the little idiosyncracy I've managed to develop and the particular path I've chosen to explore as my own. In other words, creative writing M.A.s and mentoring might have encouraged many excellent poets to emerge over the last few years, but there are still certain other advantages to working outside that environment.

I'm convinced such diversity is key to the future health of British poetry.


  1. Diversity may become an endangered species within British poetry, however, thanks to the special smoothing-out effect of CW classes.

    They also seem likely to remove from circulation that raw, slightly odd and obsessive, passionate, 'I was always going to write, whatever else happened to me' mania of the writer born.

    Will that kind of individual now pass into legend? Are we the last generation of writers who have learnt our trade in the wild?

  2. By the way, it was I who coined the somewhat dismissive 'Creative Writing Generation', not Shaun Traynor, the writer at The Irish World.

    I took my inspiration from the slant of his review of Identity Parade, which suggested such a thing but did not actually name it.

    So I'm to blame, if anyone asks. ;)

  3. Hi Jane,

    I think it's a very appropriate and well-coined term!