Clive Gresswell – Traditional versus Avant-Garde

Clive Gresswell’s poem ‘The Future’ features in Issue 1. His collection Jargon Busters is out with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

My poetry at the moment seems destined to fall trapped between two worlds – that of the traditional poets and the avant-garde. I have had good successes in both having been published in Marble Poetry and several well-established avant-garde sources such as BlazeVOX and Adjacent Pineapple. But let me state for the record my work is not a comfortable fit with either and neither camp is enamoured of the other.

In 2016 I finished an MA in Innovative Poetry at the University of Bedfordshire and published my first avant-garde collection Jargon Busters. It was well-received by the poetry press but still, I fear, too traditionalist for some London poetry circles. During my MA and while writing Jargon Busters I regularly attended meetings of a group of London poets with a pedigree in innovative poetry, the Shoreditch, London, based Writers Forum (New Series). I was interested in a different way of thinking about poetry. I was already returning to the form as a 50-year-old mature student, studying for a degree in Creative Writing, but soon became bored with the same old beatnik-style poetry I was writing at the time. At Writers Forum I was introduced to other poets such as Sean Bonney who had an edge and a different way of looking at the world. I was particularly keen on theories such as Linguistically Innovative Poetry (LiPS) where it’s clear that what is most important is not necessarily what you say but the way that you say it.

My studies and my own writing got me more and more interested in theories about writing without a subject/object but I still like to craft my poetry. Just recently my work has been arising as something of a hybrid between the forms but it is what I like to do and I expect that might continu

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