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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Sean O'Brien Is Right

Eyewear sometimes questions the serious masters of contemporary British poetry because they care about poetry as do I, and so some poetic and aesthetic differences emerge. But make no mistake, reader - any and all poets seriously committed to poetry are, ultimately, allies, no matter how challenging this might feel, or seem. Allies against societal indifference to the poetic. Too often, poetic coteries, schools, and clubs wrestle among themselves, without looking up at the audience (to see there is no audience). Poets are bloodied sad gladiators in a vacated arena. So, thumbs up for Sean O'Brien, who, in today's Guardian, argues for a poetic canon, and for poetry to be regarded as important in the 21st century - not despite its challenges, but because of them. I could quibble with aspects of this article (and in future, might) - for instance, I feel much more could be done to encourage younger writers and readers by trying harder to incorporate their experiences of music, image, and diction (their lives directly intersecting with a digital 24/7 field of entertainment) - so that mass and high culture could find common ground, in poetic speech that resonates, without losing its sense of Tradition (as Eliot himself sought, and achieved, in "Prufrock"). However, I'll stop here, because the main point is, O'Brien is, at least here and today, the champion of all poets, who deserve to be recognised and read for the difficult, testing work they do, against so many odds. Eyewear therefore salutes him.
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