If you’re a poetry fan in the vicinity of Edinburgh, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Scottish Poetry Library as soon as possible.
The library are selling off boxfuls of stock. Most books cost 50p. A few bigger ones are £1. What surprised me was how much good stuff was being sold off. I bought:
The Lion from Rio – Penelope Shuttle
Devolution – Tony Lopez
My Manifold City – George Gömöri
Sweetheart – Tamar Yoseloff
Devotions – Clive Wilmer
Coming to Terms – Harry Guest
A Snail in my Prime – Paul Durcan
The Poems of Laura Riding – Laura Riding Jackson
Gli Hospiti Nascosti – Gian Piero Bona
Quasi una Serra – Enrico D’Angelo
I didn’t have much money on me (perhaps fortunately) or I would have bought more.
I also didn’t have much time and couldn’t explore the vast number of collections which dated back to the 1970s and 1980s, most of whose authors were unknown to me, although they may have been well thought of at the time. A while back online, a poet boasted to me that he had a poem in an anthology that was going to be archived “forever”, so he already had his place in posterity. His ego is astonishing. What I saw the other day was what that “posterity” really means. Some of the collections in these boxes will have won awards, some of them looked damn good and don’t deserve to be forgotten. But they are being sold off for 50p if they are lucky, or otherwise pulped, and that’s after only two or three decades, with many (perhaps most) of the authors still alive.
C E Chaffin has just written a marginally more hopeful outlook on posterity, although the story comes with its own warnings.