Saturday, 15 November 2014

Dave Poems

Just as I'm committed to publishing positive reviews of the new books of verse that I most enjoy here on Rogue Strands, all with the aim of helping them find a wider readership, so I'm also aware that poetry blogging and reviewing can adopt many different but equally valid approaches. One such example is Dave Poems, run by Dave Coates.

I've been reading his blog since 2011, initially intrigued by his use of a disclaimer at the beginning of each review, in which he states any prejudices or connections with the poet in question. I've always found the posts a maelstrom, especially the earliest ones. They were daring, provocative, forthright, sometimes a car crash and sometimes extremely perceptive. Above all, they were the work of someone who was wrestling with his own views of poetry.

To write and offer up such reviews for public consumption takes a lot of guts. Moreover, as time has gone by and Coates' work has evolved, he hasn't hastily removed those first articles. Instead, he's done an excellent job of placing them into a personal and general context, recently publishing a remarkable retrospective post on his first fifty reviews.

In the afore-mentioned piece, Coates encourages “the understanding that negative criticism is not a personal attack, and that personal attacks are not good criticism.” In other words, he might now be choosing his words with greater awareness of their consequences and the potential for personal hurt, but that won't stop him criticising or praising poetry as he sees fit.

Dave Poems is already a terrific blog. The coming months and years, however, promise even more. I know Coates' views are going to challenge my preconceptions, and that's invariably a good thing!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Matthew

    How many other reviewers tell you honestly and exactly what they think of the slim poetry volume in front of them? None that I can think of! I had more or less given up reading poetry reviews because 99% of them were brown-nose jobs.

    Best wishes from Simon R. Gladdish