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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Frank Lists

The Guardian Review has frankly ceased to represent its papers' own social or editorial values. Of late, it has toed an increasingly establishment line. In its recent "50 Books of the Decade" - which featured English-language books from America, the UK, and beyond, only one poetry collection was mentioned: Don Paterson's Landing Light, from Faber. Now, given that Paterson was the only poet selected the week before, for the Christmas list, it is becoming tedious. But what is problematic is not Paterson's being listed - this collection is one of the major Scottish books of the decade, certainly - it is the utter absence of any other poetry books. Where is Alice Oswald? Carson? Muldoon? Something from a smaller press maybe? Some Giles Goodland? Or, .the utterly funny and experimental and daring Girly Man, by Charles Bernstein? Or, for that matter, the most politically inclusive poetry book of the decade, 100 Poets Against The War? Instead, by selecting a collection by a poet who opposed the poets against the war movement openly, and openly villified "postmodern" avant-garde poetry in the decade, the Guardian is exhibiting a rather provincial and conservative streak.
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