I have not kept any verse work done by me below the age of 20, at the earliest. I have some pieces done in my mid 20's, but not many.
But since my mid to late 20's I've been writing poems spasmodically and occasionally, sometimes with greater commitment, sometimes less. So across some 35 to 40 years I've accumulated a fairly large body of work. If you go on writing across that kind of time period the likelihood is that your work will change as time passes. You'll go through periods of being influenced by some of the poets you read, from both past and present. You'll go through periods where you stop writing or can't write, for some reason, whether to do with practical circumstances or lack of motivation, drive, incentive etc. All that has been true for me.
I'd like to keep this site fairly simple to manage and to view. So what I intend at the outset (yes, it could change with time...) is simply to post up poems from that period I mentioned above, a period of about 35 years. My attempt will be to choose what I consider to be the best of my poems from that whole time span. Where I feel it's relevant I may indicate roughly when (ie at what age) a piece was written. But often I may just post in the poems, as poems, letting them stand or fall by their own intrinsic qualities.
I know some people will disagree with this next statement. But it's my own belief that the reading of a poem may often (not always) be informed and assisted by some kind of prose note accompanying it. The note can be ignored. The poem can be printed without it. But such a note can serve as a kind of introduction to the piece, or as an amplification of its interests and concerns. You can think of it as the kind of thing a poet says before or after reading a poem at a performance reading. It does no harm and may indeed help some readers / listeners to get into the poem itself, to lay hold of the poem's meanings and ways of working. So some of these poems will have notes in italics at their feet. They may be about the circumstances in which the poem was written, the thoughts or events that triggered its beginnings. Or at times they may comment on a poem's structure, style or working method, its executive approach.
Please don't expect consistency of style here. Some poems may be serious, metaphysical, intellectual in tone and feel. Others may be light and conversational, humorous or serio-comic. Some may show more patterned form and common poetic devices, some much less of all that. Please take each poem as you find it, for itself. Let it do its work in its own way, without reference or appeal to other poems on the site. As you open a poem on its page please just be with that poem in its own right.
And if you find just one poem here on the site, then the site will have done its job and proved its worth. If you find just one poem that causes you to reflect, ruminate, imagine or feel in ways you find enhancing, if you find just one poem that makes you want to utter, mutter or stutter its syllables for their musicality or sonority, then again, I say the site will have proved its worth.
I will also be using this 'Thoughts' page to write thoughts and ideas about poetry, about the writing and reading of it. Some of the entries may be short paragraphs, some may turn out to be longer prose pieces. The 'Drafts' section of the site is to allow me to include unfinished work that I feel to be of readable interest. It may contain unfinished poems or fragments that I feel to have promise or worth.
I hope the poems, and the site itself, bring you pleasure, interest and enhancement.
Tony Mitton, Cambridge