Thursday, 29 October 2009

Is poetry alive and kicking?

This post follows-on from the post below.

...I then made a random list of living contemporary poets. That is, poets writing in English, or being translated into English, who were still alive, if not actually kicking, in 1995 when the BBC's The Bookworm poll was conducted.

Earle Birney
Gavin Ewart
Alan Beam
Richard Wilbur
Irina Ratushinskaya
X J Kennedy
Christopher Logue
Laurence Ferlinghetti
Maya Angelou
Dick Davis
C H Sisson
James Fenton
Kathleen Jamie
Michele Roberts
Robert Creeley
Simon Armitage
Theo Dorgan
Viknam Seth
Elizabeth Jennings
John McGrath
Aidan Carl Mathews
Robert Bly
Laurie Lee
Thom Gunn
Duncan Forbes
Anne Ridler
Leonard Cohen
Elaine Feinstein
Michael Young
Jonathan Steffen
Charles Madge
Philip Gross
Timothy Leary
Denise Levertov
Sharon Olds
Stephen Spender
Craig Raine
Adam Thorpe
Judith Wright
Charles Causley

The above 40 poets are, as stated, selected at random. There is no pecking-order here. I could equally have compiled a list containing 40 other names. The nation's favorite poems are written by the poets in the graveyard list below and not by, for example, the poets in my list above. Again the question arises. Why? Why is there nothing by Simon Armitage, Viknam Seth, Craig Raine & co. in the BBC's list? Why is the great British public so addicted to poetry from the grave. Is it a matter of education? Is it a copyright problem? What, for heaven's sake, is the problem I have to ask again!

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