"HARSH WORDS FOR DIRE POETS"
Last Sunday I was entertained by an article in the Sunday Express written by its resident poet Martin
Newell under the above title and taking up the remarks by Jeremy Paxman about modern poetry.
Mr Newell wasn't taking any prisoners. I quote:
"As a working poet for almost a quarter of a century, if this matter ever goes to the barricades, I will be
with Paxman. The problem is that poetry has been subjected to an inelegant greedy appropriation by
the academic world, as the literature departments of our universities hunch like daft neurotic dogs over
the much-chewed bones of poetry. As a once-popular art form it has never really recovered."
And later -
"Jeremy Paxman has done us all a favour. Perhaps his proposed Poetry Inquisition could take the
form of a weekly trial-by-TV series with our most pretentious poets asked to explain their work. The
show might becalled The Incomprehensibles.
If you suspect therefore that a poem which you are reading is dull, difficult or merely rubbish,
chances are it probably is. You should abandon it immediately and read something good."
Wow! No mincing of words there. Ring any bells, anyone?