A poetic manifesto of sorts.

•I have affinities(and borrow ideas from) with Avant-Garde, Postmodernism,Surrealism,Dada, Romanticism,Situationism,The Beats,Minimalism ,Transgressive realism, and Symbolism.(basically mostly leftwing/anti-capitalist influenced art movements)

• Have fun with the language and everything about it .There is no eternal 'rational objective art' like art must be some set easily definable thing.Art is not like science in that sense.It's not about classifying and simplifying, about categories and distinctions.It's blurry,messy,emotional,whatever.

• I think everyone has creativity in different forms and society is repressive of it or channels it to meet status quo needs.

• Creativity for me is fun,adventurous,spontaneous,a leap into the dark,like love blindness,like your first kiss,like losing your virginity,like visiting somewhere for the first time.

• I am opposed to attempts to fit poetry(and more broadly, art) into a box, to repress it,to cage it,subjugate it,tame it or herd it. Let it run free and wild. Poetry for me is more like fire, like a force of nature, like freedom itself. Poetry for me is the best anarchist.

• Poetry cannot be constrained,restrained,to 10 or even 30 styles or forms.It will always burst free. Art also. Creativity is 'sacred'.

•I see no point in aesthetics as a subject of philosophy, not anymore.In the past it merely functioned as a defence of cultural norms.It's pretty irrelevant now.Questions like 'what is art', 'what is good or bad art' seem useless except as individual preferences and tastes.I see no reason to devote academic departments to these questions or go hugely in depth about it unless the history of art interests you or you want to express what you see as interesting. •"Many have argued that it is a mistake to even try to define art or beauty, that they have no essence, and so can have no definition. Often, it is said that art is a cluster of related concepts rather than a single concept •I think the idea of art as cluster of things like Wittgenstein’s idea of family resemblance is better than essentialist ideas of art. •I oppose the institutional definition of art as elitist and pro-establishment. Tends to be euro-centric patriarchal, capitalist etc. • Once you dig into it, who is a good poet or what is a good poem or any artform is extremely subjective and dependent on taste.Opinions on art are very related to class,nationality,culture,experience, other values esp politics etc.

• I kinda feel like you have to write poetry to be able to criticise it.Or at least know what it's like to write it.

• I have issues with the art establishment especially in Scotland.

• "For John Dewey, for instance, if the writer intended a piece to be a poem, it is one whether other poets acknowledge it or not. Whereas if exactly the same set of words was written by a journalist, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem." I think there's some truth in that.

"Some art theorists have proposed that the attempt to define art must be abandoned and have instead urged an anti-essentialist theory of art. In ‘The Role of Theory in Aesthetics’ (1956), Morris Weitz famously argues that individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions will never be forthcoming for the concept ‘art’ because it is an “open concept”. Weitz describes open concepts as those whose “conditions of application are emendable and corrigible” (1956, p. 31). In the case of borderline cases of art and prima facie counterexamples, open concepts “call for some sort of decision on our part to extend the use of the concept to cover this, or to close the concept and invent a new one to deal with the new case and its new property” (p. 31 ital. in original). The question of whether a new artifact is art or not, “is not factual, but rather a decision problem, where the verdict turns on whether or not we enlarge our set of conditions for applying the concept” (p. 32). For Weitz, it is “the very expansive, adventurous character of art, its ever-present changes and novel creations,” which makes the concept impossible to capture in a classical definition (as some static univocal essence)." I agree.

• I think as with a lot of things, avant garde art e.g. Grunge can be co-opted by Capitalism.

• I'm sceptical of the idea of non-political/apolitical art or art that is purely for art's sake without any message.I struggle to believe it exists.

• I don't much accept the distinction between 'high' and 'low' art. Seems politically motivated.

• "members of the Frankfurt School coined the term mass culture to indicate that this bogus culture is constantly being manufactured by a newly emerged Culture industry (comprising commercial publishing houses, the movie industry, the record industry, the electronic media). They also pointed out that the rise of this industry meant that artistic excellence was displaced by sales figures as a measure of worth: a novel, for example, was judged meritorious solely on whether it was a bestseller, music succumbed to ratings charts and the blunt commercial logic of the Gold disc. In this way the autonomous artistic merit so dear to the vanguardist was abandoned and sales increasingly became the measure, and justification, of everything. Consumer culture now ruled."-I agree.

"According to Hans Richter, Dada was not art, it was "anti-art." Everything for which art stood, Dada represented the opposite. Where art was concerned with traditional aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics. If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend"

• I like some aspects of 'anti-art'.

• Following from the situationists and Dada, I think there should be no separation between life and art as a separate pursuit seen as leisure or 'useless' or 'nonproductive'.I think life should be creative and society should allow for that which means the total destruction of the status quo.

• "I don't have any formula for what poem should be like. You can't say, a priori, what style a poem should have, what voice a poem should channel, whether it should be narrative or not narrative, lyric or not lyric, striated or smooth. It's not possible to prescribe because what's most interesting about poetry is how it responds to emerging circumstance and its local languages, local places; to the most local part of your mind; to the intersection of so many different, not necessarily definable, factors, which are specific for every poet and for every different point in time, and even for yourself as you move through time. So there is that provisionalty, that response to contingent circumstance, that seems to me what's innovative in poetry. Poetic innovation is pragmatic. Innovation is what lets you resolve emerging problems as they pop up, mostly unexpectedly and often unhappily. But better than innovation, call it ingenuity. It's not something rarified or, well, avant-garde. On the contrary, it's the absence of ingenuity that takes poetry out of everday life. Official Verse Culture, for example, in its refusal of new forms of poetry, clings to a past that has already passed by, making poetry something that resembles corpses in a museum. But when we are speaking of innovation, we are speaking of the basic condition of poetry. It comes down to the ability to stay attuned to, to stay in touch with, your responsiveness to the world you find yourself in. "-Charles Bernstein 2005

• I'm against pretensiousness in art or art criticism and theory.A lot of Art theory just seems like masturbation, just trying to put art into this little box of what it is and what it should be and alot of the writing about art seems quite elitist and removed from those who actually make art.

I'm interested in art that feels relevant and is not afraid to be political.

• Artists of all kinds think about things differently to those who analyse the details of a work of art one produced.It can be fun I guess to look at a poem or song etc and see what the artist did and maybe try to guess at why(and think about how it relates to the genre blah blah etc) but I kinda think it's a bit of a waste of time to pursue it too seriously.

• I don't see the point in arguments over art or interpretations.It's so diverse and open it's a bit like arguing over whether WKD is better than Pino Grigio.It depends on tastes mostly and to some extent on your purposes.Same thing with art.

• Sometimes you might want music to dance that's kinda light without much thought involved so you go to that.Othertimes you might want poetic music laden with lots of metaphor and symbolism so you go for that.Seems kinda pointless to argue "oh my poetic music is better than your mindless stuff".It depends on what the audience is looking for and what the artist wants to do.There's different purposes and different audiences and you can't squeeze any into an either/or box.To do that is to define art.And art is notoriously difficult to define

• I should also say something about criticism of art.As explained above, it's pointless.If you don't like gritty stories trying to approximate life then don't read them ,find what you like.In the act of criticism you're trying to impose a definition of art onto someone else.The most I tend to say is that it doesn't appeal to me,doesn't interest me or I don't understand it's purpose.That is fair enough and not a hugely judgemental position(though still judging of course) I don't see the need to go around telling artists not to spell this way or to do this this way.You're trying to tell them how to create and I disagree with that approach.For me personally if I'm writing a poem a certain way I did it for a specific purpose normally and so if you want me to change it you're altering my purpose and meaning for it's creation.You frustrate my intention.

•I'm critical of poets who are safe, sanitised, claim to be apolitical, speak from a middle class perspective, defend the status quo politically or culturally,have lots of taboos, avoid expressing embodiment and being a physical being in the poems.

•There's a 'middleclass' conservative attitude to poetry or art(or I've seen it called a 'Right Cultural Front') obviously it's a spectrum of better or worse but the trends I see are :- tends to be pretentious,believes in restrictive structures and forms, tends to exclude working class/working class experience, tends to be anti-scots, tends to ignore dialects or other languages other than english,tends to have alot of taboos,opposed to experimentalism, favours more classical art/poetry, very prescriptive in terms of what art must be or do, Anglo-centric,Euro-centric, very london centric, criticizes scottish etc writers who talk about native issues/culture/enviroments as provincial and narrowminded, tends to oppose bukowski/tom leonard/james kelman, tends to think that if you're not published it's because you're worthless etc.I call it a preservative view of arts.

• I wouldn't say throw away traditional poetry but any means. what I think is that poetry must move beyond it and must avoid the problems. And I think there's a lot of poetry that avoids those problems in one way or another.

• I'm interested in seeing and expressing a stronger sense of being a flesh and blood being in poetry.

• Not all poems are gonna be masterpieces.Not all are gonna be hugely innovative or exciting.

• To some extent I have issues with criticism of art because it may change it so that it loses it's point or purpose.

• Personally I know very little about the Do's and don'ts of poetry- about traditional rhyme structures or forms etc .I don't think it's all that necessary.If I wanna learn to do a sonnet or a haiku or a certain rhyme form,I would but I like to see what comes out .At best,they're guidelines and treating them too highly turns them into rigid rules, abstractions which suck all the life and joy out of art.Plus isn't those guidelines after the fact justifications of someone who once created art then created conventions. Conventions can be followed or fractured.

• I favour expression,spontaneity,experimentalism,practice before theory,Impromptu art,ecleticism, diversity of styles etc.

• Poetry as a prick

poetry as cacti

poetry as urgent and insistent as an arterial spray.

poetry as a hammer

not poetry as a sunflower

or poetry as a sunday siesta parlor game.

No ,not poetry for fame

but poetry of the flame!

• The values I favour in poetry and art are Authenticity,honesty, reflections of ordinary experience(without excluding sci-fi/surrealism), experimentalism,rejection of taboos, makes you think, feels relevant to people,

• Poets who represent those values to me are Robert Burns,Robert Garioch, Allen Ginsberg,Charles Bukowski,Rab Wilson

• I think performance poetry is the wave of the future for poetry.

• Pretty strongly against the whole idea of 'proper grammar/punctuation/spelling' and 'Linguistic Prescriptivism' as it's called ,especially in art.Everyday communication,well there is some argument that can be better made there.

• I've been trying to experiment with different styles and ways of doing poetry recently.Bukowski, Tom leonard,Allan Ginsberg etc have just woken me up to the fun that can be had with poetry and language and I'm trying to break out my old habits.I do like 16/17/18/19th century poetry like the romantics,baudelaire, even the greek/roman etc stuff but it's not the very height of poetry like it's the only thing poetry can be and nothing else. I do admire those styles but I admire the smashers of them too.The people who said fuck this shit ,we'll do it how we like it.Poetry shouldn't be thought of or considered this rich persons pursuit removed from everyday concerns and this high flung

language different from how we speak and artificial (you can write that way if you want but that's only one of many ways of doing poetry) I guess what I'm trying to say is I rebel against the idea that Poetry is woodworths style, or Burn's style or Bukowski's style or Tom Leonard's style etc. It can be whatever the fuck you want.Mix styles.Make a new style.Use old,use new.