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Thursday, 20 September 2007

Why Brownlee Stayed

Good news. The New Yorker is going to get a truly world-class poet to be its poetry editor. Paul Muldoon will take over the famous magazine in the world's greatest city, confirming his decision to move there as the right one. Muldoon did a good job editing the Best American Poetry anthology a few years ago, has won a Pulitzer, and his last book, Horse Latitudes, was brilliant. He's the Auden of his generation (with perhaps some different habits) in terms of precocious ability, verbal style, intellectual vigour, and expatriated address. Hopefully he will get the magazine to publish more poems and more poetry reviews. Meanwhile, London, apparently laying claim to New York's fabled status as greatest city, cannot point to one major mainstream general interest magazine of international standing that publishes major poetry, other than the TLS (which is not quite the same thing) - and, while New York poetics, poets and poetry continues to be vibrant, celebrating a variety of styles, influences, and formal options, English poetry seems all-too-often stuck between an us-and-them trad-or-avant position, which is very 90s - and publishing of new dynamic poets is somewhat lax. Get with it, and follow Muldoon's lead, I say: poetry can be quicksilver and many-faceted, open to various positions.
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