Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pirene's Fountain Feature

Pirene's Fountain has a feature on Jake Berry and myself:

My thanks to editor Ami Kaye for all the work she's put into this during the past year.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Interview with me at Fieralingue

I was pleased to be asked by Anny Ballardini to take part in a series of interviews with poetry publishers at Fieralingue:


Q: Are there any parameters by which you understand the political correctness of a literary work? Could you please describe them? Could you give some examples based on the books you published?

A: I can’t really answer the question, as I don’t believe that poetry that thinks of itself as political is of any urgent relevance to the aesthetics of poetry, which has always been my main concern. I assume that some of those poets who write what they call political poetry hope it will have some interest philosophically, if nothing else. Few would expect it to bring about political change.

The failure of the high profile and well-supported political protest song “movement” in the USA in the 1960s should be an indication that if such a popular and internationally well-publicised mass movement as that failed, then certainly “political” poetry (avant-garde or otherwise) has little hope of success.

Q: With the general economic crisis that has hit not only the U.S.A., what is your forecast on the future of the book?

A: I think the future of printed books will be that they will still be available but for mainly archival purposes, and for collectors of beautiful objects. There may also be a market for them as gifts for special occasions such as weddings, christenings and other rights of passage celebrations. But as a utility, printed books will be used rarely when devises such as Kindle become as ubiquitous and as affordable as digital wristwatches.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Published Email Correspondence

Otoliths have published Outside Voices: an email correspondence, which is a series of emails between poet Jake Berry and myself. It's available to purchase here:

Here is the publishers description:

‘This 18-month transatlantic email correspondence between Jake Berry and Jeffrey Side ranges across and intertwines a variety of topics that include: poetry and music; film and TV; the changes in culture over the past few decades; the differences in regional U.S. and U.K. accents; the difficulty of reaching the famous in order to interview them; the songwriter as poet and vice versa.’


'I think we are nearing an end of game situation as far as the arts are concerned. By that, I mean everything that could be done in painting, music, poetry, film, song etc. has been done. All that seems to be going on now in each of these art forms is a repetition of achievements but rebranding them as "innovative." Painting is still feeding off Pollack or Rothko, and conceptual art is still milking the found object idea. Experimental classical music is still working with dissonance and atonal stuff. Mainstream poetry is still under the shadow of Wordsworth and Whitman; or if it is experimental, it is still operating under the fragmentation/collage aesthetic of early modernist poetry. Modern experimental film seems not to exist anymore (it is now video art) and mainstream film (since Spielberg) imitates the look and feel of German Expressionist cinema in the 1920s. In pop/rock (the two have become the same to me now) the musical sounds are not as innovative as they were with the early 1980s new wave stuff, with its space-age synth sound and robotic feel. What we have now is fourth rate Beatles/Doors/Stones wannabees on the one hand, and soul-based divas (Beyonce etc.) churning out substandard Tina Turner/Diana Ross/Donna Summer with “attitude” and an R&B base run. There is nothing very innovative being done anymore. Obviously, this is a caricature and not 100% accurate, but it illustrates a trend.' (Jeffrey Side)

'Yes, these days it is anathema to do anything that seems romantic. This is the horseshit of so-called postmodernism. Romanticism leads to Modernism and you must rebel against Modernism because, well, it’s old now and you have to do something new. It was Pound though that said "make it new." Poetry has painted itself into corners all over the place. The academic corner. The Beat/Hip corner. The exclusive avant-garde corner. The anecdotal narrative corner. The poetry slam, open mic corner. All of these are for a very limited audience. I heard Gore Vidal talking about the novel a couple of years ago. He lamented that the novel had gone the way of poetry, into obscurity. Many people would object saying no, there are more novels published every year than ever before. Yes, but have you read those novels? They aren’t Dickens, nowhere near it. They aren’t even Gore Vidal. It’s mostly pulp stuff.' (Jake Berry)