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Thursday, 27 January 2011
Tradition and the Individual Prize
In The Guardian, on Saturday, Don Paterson wrote about how older poet-editors need to speak with poets in their 20s, to keep up with the new poetic styles - agreed. He also discussed the roots of the new Picador Poetry Prize. He was careful to position the prize in the lineage of the Yale series of poets. While it is in that lineage, there are far more recent and obvious precedents, and it is telling that these were rather notably overlooked. The first is the Crashaw Prize, which Salt has successfully run the last few years. But, more to the point, there is the general American experience of publishing, where almost every debut collection at every credible poetry publisher is adjudicated on in a prize setting. I just wanted to mention this, because while the nascent Picador Prize may wish to bask in the glow of the Yale series, it really is the nothing new. A fine venture from one of the major places to find mainstream, excellent BILP - British-Irish Lyric Poetry - but not an original endeavour in the least. Then again, as Paterson has been wont to argue, The New in Poetry is rather besides the point, and Tradition is equally valuable.