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.
This, I'm afraid, is utterly depressing and terrifying in equal measure. I'm used, like any other birdwatcher, to reading about worrying declines in all ...