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Monday, 24 November 2008

Public Poet Wanted?

Odd news. The next British Poet Laureate will be selected in a bizarre mix of academic and public polling (which may yield cross-purpose results). This may not be the great Obama moment that seems intended - democracy and poetry don't always mix well, since the vast majority of people don't understand the value or purpose of poetry extends beyond voicing 19th century sentiment in rhyming couplets. Nor is new poetry merely rap, though Eyewear likes Lil Wayne. Should the winner be a dynamic, talented, personable and decent poet, like Simon Armitage, or a brilliant, important contemporary figure like Carol Ann Duffy, all will be well. Maybe Prynne could win. However, the selection process might just as easily yield a John Sergeant type, a favourite plucked from mediocrity to challenge artsy-fartsy (perceived) notions (though past laureates were often bland anyway). I feel the Ivory Tower is about to be shaken. What next, choose the Archbishop of Canterbury by phone-in?
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