Saturday, March 08, 2008

Come Back Poetry, All is Forgiven

Whilst the Mail on Sunday continues its apparently random record collection (Prince, Jean Michel Jarre, tomorrow's Nigel Kennedy doing the Four Seasons), The Guardian's latest collection, starting next week is "20th Century Poets." As a spoiler (I'm guessing), the Independent has rushed out the first of a series of glossy booklets about much older poets - starting today with Chaucer. I'm only disappointed that the Guardian's little list is such a predictable one. Auden, Eliot, Plath, Hughes, Heaney, Larkin, Sassoon - is there one Guardian reader who doesn't know those already? It's like those little gift sets of poets, whittled down to a line up as predictable as anything. Imagine even a Pound, a Lowell or a Bishop in that set? Oh well, the set ends with a CD of readings, which should be worth having, at least; though in the age of Wikipedia and iTunes it all seems rather quaint to get a little insert with the paper! Though what is one to make of Sean O'Brien's muddied water of a column that is used to herald this new collection of poets? I've read it three times now, and I still have no idea what his point is, other than "poetry's good," and he's got a very weird way with writing sentences. Anyway, it's good that the Guardian Review seems to have remembered that poetry exists again. Simon Armitage's workspace, that Sean O'Brien piece, a book review about Dorothy Wordsworth and Linton Kwesi Johnson all in the same issue.

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