Thursday, October 06, 2005

The state of British poetry

An in-depth analysis of who's who and what they're writing about, by John Mullan in The Guardian.
So what preoccupies the nation's poets - aside from obtaining the university posts teaching creative writing that now sustain many of them? The Forward prize was explicitly set up for writers who reach out to a "general readership", and it does seem that the poetry of natural description is often what general readers are perceived to want. Last year, Kathleen Jamie won with The Tree House, the poems in which enacted a minute scrutiny of nature - flowers and trees, birds and wild animals. Alice Oswald has certainly shown herself to have appeal: her collection Dart, first published in 2002, has had five-figure sales - an extraordinary achievement for a book of new verse by a previously unknown writer.
Update: The Guardian also has an interview with Forward prize winner David Harsent.

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