Skip to main content

Ten

Tony Judt, who has died, would have had something to say about the new Bloodaxe anthology, Ten, edited by Daljit Nagra and Bernardine Evaristo - since it is an "identity" anthology - a selection of "multicultural" (in the UK case, Black and Asian) poets.  I haven't seen it yet, and want to.  It is, as all will agree, high time such poets were more widely published and celebrated.

The question remains, for the mainstream British poetry community, why such voices, such poets, tend to be marginal, special cases, requiring such a showcase - their own stage.  Of course, both Voice Recognition and Identity Parade included Black and Asian poets from Britain - and this book offers a satisfying trilogy for any shelf.  The woeful lack of interest in "multicultural" poets in the UK by many larger publishers has something to do with the conservative bent, the careful career-pruning, of some.  Tone and diction and intent are so important for English poetry, especially, that new registers and themes and ranges can be misread, or read accurately, as beyond the tonal limits.

"Good" English poetry is so often about restraint, about a drained verbal landscape.  Multicultural writing, to use that awkward term, and here I think Salman Rushdie is the exemplar, offers a rioutous hybrdity that by its very post-colonial and talk-back nature is rebarbative at times, and surely, "bad" in a good way - see the claims that Nagra was a "bad poet" in Arete magazine a few years back.  If Ten gets readers for these poets they didn't have before, that's the job done.  Might it be too much to hopethat future anthologies will be able to include such poets not because they have been marginal, but because they no longer are?
1 comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!