Of the 11 poets who commented in The Guardian's response to Astley's StAnza lecture, only one spoke directly to the issue: John Burnside. Not that the other ten didn't have a valid opinion, they just didn't seem on point. Here's what Burnside said:
The polarity of remote, ivory tower "academics" scribbling postmodernist twaddle versus accessible, emotional, spiritually satisfying poets-for-the-people is misleading. The best poets occupy neither position: they write what they must, and sift out what seems personal, obscure, sentimental or facile before they publish. For myself, I would say communication matters (no point publishing something nobody understands), but integrity - not mere honesty, but an organic quality where the poem is as true to its own nature as a rose or a horseshoe crab - comes first. Ideally they come together. In a world that tends to simplify every utterance to the level of soundbite, "difficulty" is no bad thing: difficult poetry, like good philosophy, offers us no answers and cures us of nothing, but it does ask us to think, to feel and - most important - to imagine.
Of course, Burnside manages to alienate alot of postmodernist, language poets as well as the confessional poets and some meditative poets, along with all the greeting card poets and begininng poets. At this point, I'm feeling like quotes should enclose the word poet.
Burnside did, however sound the imagist chord ("an organic quality where the poem is as true to its own nature"), and gave a simple explanation re: the balance between difficulty and readers' ease ("difficult poetry, like good philosophy, offers us no answers and cures us of nothing, but it does ask us to think, to feel and - most important - to imagine.)
I've never heard of Burnside but imagine he's a white fellow in his 70s. Let me see how well he's represented his generation. So, I'm wrong: Born in 1955! From the Contemporary Writers site:
John Burnside known as perhaps the only younger poet still drawing sustenance from nature. As his work has developed it has become clear that he is a mystical poet, closer to European models than other English poets, excepting perhaps Geoffrey Hill, with whom he has been compared. Spanish poetry has influenced him, especially Jimenez, Lorca and Guillen. Burnside is almost as prolific as Peter Redgrove was in his heyday. He has published seven collections since his debut, The HoopSwimming in the Flood (1995), A Normal Skin (1997), and The Asylum Dance (2000) - have dispelled any notion that he was the token nature poet amongst his contemporaries. (1988) and three novels. And the rate of production accelerated in the 1990s. His three collections since he was selected as a New Generation Poet in 1994 -