Subscribe: Tonguefire
http://tonguefire.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
ambulance box  blog  book  box  good  new  poem  poems  poet  poetry  powerpoint  read  reading  salt  time  tour   
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Tonguefire

Tonguefire



a young(ish) Scottish poet squeaks



Updated: 2017-01-14T11:05:20.762+00:00

 



Flittit!

2009-08-25T10:16:14.860+01:00

Tonguefire has moved. I've been building a wee website on WordPress, incorporating this blog . Although it's not exactly finished, I deem it ready enough for me to point www.andrewphilip.net at it and shift the blog over there.

I do hope you'll update your bookmarks, feeds and blogrolls and join me in the new virtual abode. All the old posts and comments are there. I think you'll find it elegantly styled and comfortable. Perhaps you'll also find it interesting and a bit more user friendly. See you over there!

Now, where did I put the keys for this place ...

(image)



Thursday Past: What Did and Didn't Happen

2009-08-23T21:59:42.628+01:00

Blackwell's on Thursday was a good night. A really varied bunch of perfomers -- poetry, fiction, non-fiction and folk music -- in a great venue, despite the traffic noise. It was a good audience, too. Heartening to see a mix of kent faces and new. Good on the bookshop for putting on such a good programme. If you're in the vicintiy and have missed it, there's still this week coming, when the line-up includes my fellow Lithgae resident Douglas Watt, along with Jim Sinclair, Michel Faber, Kenneth Steven and Louise Welsh.

Unfortunately, I had to head straight home after the reading and so didn't get to see David Gaffney's show or meet the man himself. I also didn't manage to get to either of Michael Symmons Roberts's EIBF readings this weekend. Not much of a festival for me this year. There's always the next one! I vow to do more readings in Edinburgh next August too.

(image)



Destroy PowerPoint -- Another Festival Plug

2009-08-16T22:10:15.233+01:00

Anyone who has read David Gaffney's hilarious, dark, moving and imaginative collection of micro fiction Sawn-Off Tales or who enjoyed his sawn-off operas on The Verb a while back will doubtless want to check out his Fringe show, I reckon. Click the flyer image to go to the Fringe web page for the show.

(image)

‘Office life eats itself in witty, profound stories of love and desperation in the workplace.’

About PowerPoint, made in PowerPoint, presented in PowerPoint, micro-fiction writer David Gaffney demonstrates how PowerPoint dominates, destroys, and pollutes workplace communication with his unique, funny, profound tales of a complex corporate world where the spirit thrives despite everything.

Why PowerPoint?
‘I’ve worked in many public service jobs,’ said David, ‘as a debt counselor, a trainer, a funding officer, and a legal consultant, and I’ve been subjected to hundreds of PowerPoint presentations and delivered many as well. I began to wonder about the format - did PowerPoint release creativity within the workforce or stifle it? I wanted to test this out and my specialism being what I call sawn-off tales - micro stories of only a few hundred words long - I wondered what it would be like to use PowerPoint as a format to tell stories. It would be the workplace talking to itself in the only language it knows. The stories would be about people delivering PowerPoint presentations and, in traditional PowerPoint style, every word would appear on the screen.’

Destroy PowerPoint will appeal to anyone who likes good literature, strong original comedy, or is just interested in making fun of the way we communicate at work. Think Daniel Kitson, The Office, Peep Show, Dave Gorman, David Shrigley.

David Gaffney lives in Manchester. He is the author of Sawn-off Tales (2006), Aromabingo, (2007), and Never, Never (2008). Destroy PowerPoint is his first Edinburgh show.

(image)



The Importance of Sodium

2009-08-16T15:22:01.177+01:00

(image) On Facebook at the moment, you can vote for what you think is the most important book Salt has published. It's a fascinating list. At the moment, Shaindel Beers is way out in front and looking unassailable. (Well done, Shaindel! It is a strong book.)

Of course, importance is deeply subjective but that's half the fun. There's no doubt that The Ambulance Box is the most important Salt book to me personally for a number of reasons, but what is most important in the wider literary sense is a completely different matter. I chose Scales Dog and The Harbour Beyond the Movie. What are your picks? Drop my the Facebook note and add them, comment here or at the Salt Confidential post. The vote closes on 15 September.

(image)



Blackwell's Writers at the Fringe and More

2009-08-12T22:26:04.028+01:00

Family circumstances mean I'm almost absent from Edinburgh this festival season, but I'll be reading at Blackwell's Writers at the Fringe on Thurs 20th. Rob A Mackenzie is reading there tomorrow night.

There are, of course, numerous literary events going on in Edinburgh this month. I hope that I might manage to hear one of Michael Symmons Roberts two readings at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, but we'll have to see how things work out.

Jenny Bornholdt, Bashabi Fraser & Martin MacIntyre are reading at EIBF on Saturday from 4pm., although I won't make it. However, it should be worth checking out, especially for Martin’s very fine Gaelic poetry.

(image)



Top 20

2009-08-07T14:57:28.164+01:00

The front page of Salt's website now carries a top 20 bestsellers list and I'm delighted to say that The Ambulance Box currently comes in at 11, just above Keats (!). Here are the top 10:

  1. Tania Hershman, The White Road and Other Stories
  2. Chris Agee, Next to Nothing
  3. Shaindel Beers, A Brief History of Time
  4. Luke Kennard, The Migraine Hotel
  5. Marion May Campbell, Fragments from a Paper Witch
  6. Siân Hughes, The Missing
  7. Andrew Taylor, The Unhaunting
  8. Mark Illis, Tender
  9. Chrissie Gittins, I’ll Dress One Night As You
  10. Anita Heiss, I’m Not Racist, But …

Well done to all the above writers! I'm particularly pleased to see Chris Agee's wonderful, deeply moving book so high up the hit parade. A good strong showing for the poetry list too!

(image)



Journey's End, Fair and Squared

2009-08-05T18:18:53.071+01:00

There were some strained moments last week on the Ambulance Box tour bus after the driver nearly fell asleep at the wheel in the Swiss Alps and the tour manager's navigation nearly had us in Luxembourg rather than heading Londonward. But nobody has actually fallen out or off and, today, we reach our final stop at fellow Salt poet Anne Berkeley's blog Squared. Drop by to read about opening the book on a monostich; mentoring, colleagues and development; and the future of poetry publishing.

(image)



Open Plan Otherness: An Interview with Claire Crowther

2009-07-31T09:00:02.829+01:00

The Clockwork Gift is Claire Crowther's second collection. It's a rich and powerful book from a unique voice. I started off our chat by asking about the poem "Open Plan".Andrew Philip: Welcome to Tonguefire, Claire. I love the unsettled and unsettling examination of contemporary family life in this poem. What was its genesis?Claire Crowther: I began to imagine the world of this poem when I went to live in a gated estate. It was an unpleasant feeling and I kept wanting the walls and gates to be taken away. The image of walls being taken down persisted in my head and I wrote a few failed poems about gated communities. Then I simplified it to a home in which a couple are powerless to resist the actions of government and are made vulnerable in a way they don't expect.AP: How typical is that of your writing process? CC: It's typical that I think of a scene or action in which I am stuck, fearful and confused - I meditate on such a scene for weeks or months. Gradually I take myself out of the scene and universalise it or bring others in or make myself into another character. At this point I am driven to start writing a poem, or a few lines. AP: Family life, particularly from the point of view of a grandmother, is a frequent area of exploration in the book. However, it's always dangerous for a reader to assume autobiography. How closely do you draw on your own experience?CC: In a way I always do but only as a starting point. I have always felt what I write about - that's the genesis of a poem. But the detail varies from my own experience - it could be that I observe other families interacting and freely bring in their details. I never feel I have to stick to any one set of facts - I mingle and match facts I've observed to serve the poem which becomes something different. In the end, there is rarely any autobiography at all - the poem has taken over completely.AP: You also use and even create myth. How did the set of poems about the thike come about?CC: I feel very strongly about the way we human beings make ourselves 'other' all the time. We seem to treat people outside our own groups as differently as we treat animals. I wanted a story - or myth - that would express that. I also think animals are interesting because our care and/or use of them is so complicated and so often destructive. But I was also happy to depict a thike as human because I think there is very little difference in our treatment of humans and animals in some circumstances.AP: Are you done with the thike or will we see more of it in future?CC: I'm not done with thinking about the thike - but I can never plan for poems so I don't know if any more of these poems will emerge fully finished.AP: Do you feel able to tell us what you're working on at the moment?CC: I'm working on a series of poems about an imaginary village called Low Village - it serves as a mythical underworld. I lived in a village for twenty two years so, though these poems do not describe that village, many of my feelings about village life are expressed in these poems. They are not realistic poems. The human thike in "Sleeping on a Trampoline" lives there.AP: The formal variety in The Clockwork Gift is striking. I'm especially interested that you sometimes slip between verse and a prose-poem layout within a single poem. Will you comment on that and on your relationship to the space of the page?CC: I would like to do more with the space on a page. I love the white expanse and have not yet explored it fully. Alternating prose and verse is another tool to pace a poem and help a reader extract more meaning from a situation. I am still writing poems with that form. I understand that haibun poems use prose as well as verse so I haven't invented it.[...]



August Offer at Salt

2009-07-29T08:00:54.808+01:00

This just in from Salt:

In order to keep Salt on track through the wet British summer, we're offering you another special deal throughout August. All Salt books are available from us at 33% discount yet again. That's a third off all Salt titles, and free shipping on orders with a cover price of over £30 or $30. Offer ends 31 August 2009.

Simply enter the coupon code HU693FB2 when in the store to benefit.

As before, all we ask is two things—

1. Buy one book. Or perhaps another one ... go on.
2. Pass it on. Share this offer with everyone who loves gorgeous books and likes a bargain (whilst saving independent literature).

http://www.saltpublishing.com
(image)



Closely Shielded Secrets

2009-07-29T07:52:59.569+01:00

The Ambulance Box tour bus nears the end of its journey this week as I pull into Switzerland and the blog of poet, academic and musician Andrew Shields. Andrew is a tough questioner! But I enjoyed it. Click here to read his questions to me about Scots and German, my poetics and lists.

(image)



Spreading the Sodium

2009-07-28T13:34:54.734+01:00

The Bookseller is reporting good news on the Salt front: the press has managed to raise enough money to keep going through 2009 -- as long, that is, as it achieves its budgeted sales for the rest of the year, which is far from a given. Which means all sales and efforts such as this week's benefit reading in Edinburgh are still necessities. There's an exciting diversification programme at Salt too, about which the link above gives a tantalising glimpse. Please help to keep this vibrant and innovative publisher afloat not only for today's readers and writers but for the future.

(image)



Out of the Salty Blue

2009-07-27T13:32:19.363+01:00

Kevin Cadwallender, editor of Red Squirrel Scotland, has organised an Edinburgh benefit reading for Salt. It's at Out of the Blue arts centre, Dalmeny Street on Thursday July 30th at 7 pm. Poets include JL Williams, Rob A Mackenzie, Colin Donati, Kevin Cadwallender, James Oates, Anita Govan, Steve Urwin, Alistair Robinson and others TBC, all giving their time and raising their voices to raise money for Salt Publishing. Entry is free but donations to the cause are welcome and expected.

I can't be there, sadly. If you can be there, go; if you can spread the word, do. It is important that we keep publishers like Salt afloat.

(image)



Open Plan

2009-07-27T09:00:04.809+01:00

I'll be interviewing another Shearsman poet, Claire Crowther, here on Friday 31 July. The following poem comes from her marvellous new collection The Clockwork Gift.

Open Plan

They took the walls away without warning.
The roof floated, a miraculous over of shelter.
We were caught out. We cooled quickly. A sty?

My hands made paws? My lover stamped in the open.
Who took the decision? Editorials argued
about iconoclasm. We’d had a tradition

of opening the inside but obscuring doors.
But doorlessness isn’t just trailing ivy
over a letterbox or bricking the front

to look like the side. Our family walls were all sides.
The trick was to show passers-by a gleam of room.
One of our walls had had an exquisite trompe l’oeil

library. No stranger could find a way in
and no one knew how we had done it, which book
the idea came from. Every unwalled home

can’t be called a ruin. I missed the rally.
Thousands met in a park — that seems so ironic.
Were they protesting about their gazebos?

My bed is a perfect copy of straw, comfortable.
I hold you as close as when we were walled in,
though nearer the pavement, though clearer to them.


(image)



Flint, Rime, Paint: An Interview with Siriol Troup

2009-07-24T08:16:38.625+01:00

Siriol Troup's Beneath the Rime, her second full collection of poetry, was published earlier this year by the wonderful Shearsman Press. I first met Siriol when we read together at StAnza 2006, along with Richard Price, and was only too pleased when asked to take part in her virtual book tour.Andrew Philip: It's a pleasure to have you here. at Tonguefire, Siriol. Will you tell a little about how and when you started to write poetry? Siriol Troup: I had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Flint, who encouraged us all to read and write poetry. Once a term, each house was given a theme to write about and the best efforts were pinned up on the ‘Literary Board’. Other girls would pay me to write poems for them – sometimes there were half a dozen of my poems on the board, each under a different name. After I left school I had little time for poetry – raising four children took a fair amount of my time! – until 2001 when I abandoned work on yet another terrible novel and returned to writing poetry.AP: The real and imagined journeys in Beneath the Rime cover a lot of ground in place and time. It seems a very European book in that France, Germany, Spain and Rome are recurrent settings, although we also get a bit of America. That breadth of view is refreshing in British poetry. Will you comment on this? Do you see yourself as primarily a British or European poet?ST: My father was in the army so most of my childhood and teenage years were spent abroad, I then read French and German at Oxford, returned to teach French Literature there for a few years, went on to learn Italian and Spanish, and, more recently, I’ve been learning a bit of ancient Greek and Norwegian – so European languages and literature have always been part of my everyday vocabulary, and I suppose that’s why I’d like to see myself as a European, rather than British, poet. In fact, taking a quick look at the piles on my desk and my bedside table, I’d say I read a lot more in foreign languages (both poetry and prose) than I do in English! The French settings in Beneath the Rime are in fact Belgian: I spent summer holidays living with a family in Brabant who kept rabbits and became the background for a set of five poems in the book, the first of which is “Country Living”.AP: You make frequent use of the dramatic monologue, sometimes even in non-human voices, such as the elephants in “Nox Elephantorum” and “Caged Elephants”. What attracts you to that approach? What do you consider to be its advantages and disadvantages?ST: I like the freedom of being able to use a voice that’s not my own. Perhaps it’s something to do with being a linguist, always using someone else’s language. Finding another voice – human, animal or mineral (there’s a poem in my first book, Drowning up the Blue End, written from the point of view of Samuel Pepys’s gall stone) – lets you inhabit a different world, a different time, gives you a chance to see things from other, possibly more interesting, points of view. At its worst, dramatic monologue can simply be a frustrating mask, a cover-up that’s pretentious or annoying, but at its best, it’s a way of approaching the truth obliquely that can be liberating and illuminating, for both writer and reader – think of Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”, or Charlotte Mew’s “The Farmer’s Bride”.AP: The third section of the book explores imaginatively the circumstances of Velázquez’s court portraits of the Infanta María Teresa and Mariana of Austria. I’m interested in the writing of this sequence. Did the poems arise out of reading you had already done or did you research the background with the intention of writing about it? Did you concei[...]



Transatlantic Hutter

2009-07-22T13:21:14.830+01:00

If a disadvantage of touring virtually is that you don't get long stretches of reading time on trains or planes, one advantage is certainly the ability to skip back and forth over huge stretches of ocean and land as if you had a little nut tree. Accordingly, this week finds me back in the USA at Jilly Dybka's Poetry Hut blog. Click here to read about the connections between poetry, grief and chocolate cake.

(image)



Nox Elephantorum

2009-07-20T09:00:01.314+01:00

I'll be interviewing the poet Siriol Troup here on Tonguefire on Friday, 24 July. The following poem comes from her new collection, Beneath the Rime.

Nox Elephantorum
– Elephant Night at the Coliseum

Climb the railings by moonlight – you’ll find us
on our knees in the ring, turning tricks
under the sky’s black awning. Such eloquent
desolation: the rime of ivory on tufa,
a breeze down the stairwells, the whiff
of dung and pozzolana. We have only
a few hours each night, but they are very long.

How shall we entertain you? Walk the tightrope
backwards? Toss stray cats in the air, watch them
break as they fall? For Germanicus
we danced the graveyard shuffle, our big feet
tender as pincushions, a crimson ellipsis
on the sand. The people roared, the vultures
lunged and hissed over the bleachers.

Let me be your guide. Once there were
statues, frescoes, trapdoors, marble seats, sails
flying through cloud. The butchery defied
imagination: bulls, bears, crocodiles,
tigers and giraffes – an alphabet of beasts
slaughtered ad libitum, carousels
of blood. Listen, you can hear the skirl

of tusks along the colonnades.
I had a mother once. These ears are for
remembering: the feverish sea, psoriasis
of salt on skin, the subterranean
cells, the bite of chains. Now, in the centre
of the herd, we place the ones who cannot
die, shading them with the bark of our hides,

with memories of acacias rooted in heat-
haze. They weep like rocks, piteously, below
the range of human hearing. In summer
the moths come, creamy as baobab flowers,
wings like gauze on their wounds. How many
of us lie buried in this vanished world?
Step closer, let me show you the little paths

that wind among the ruins. The travertine vaults.
The drains gathering water from the hills of Rome.
The Vestals sat here. Here’s the spot where tongues
of lightning set fire to the upper floors. Here
twenty elephants were killed, but not before
we’d raised our trunks to heaven, causing the crowd
to rain down curses on Pompey. And here

you stand with your guidebook, staring at things
you cannot see. Soon it will be dawn.
You’ll leave with our dust on your feet, our breath
on your neck, our tears on your dry cheeks.
Will you remember how we died? How little
we asked of the gods? How the moon tonight
was encompassed by a light unknown in your land?(image)



Extra Tour Date!

2009-07-17T23:11:58.696+01:00

Unoccupied as I am and have been, I've added another date to the Ambulance Box virtual tour: on 5 August, I'll be at fellow Salt poet Anne Berkeley's blog Squared.

(image)



Spark Plugs, Squirrels and Slams

2009-07-15T21:22:53.672+01:00

Others may be going on a summer holiday, but here at Tonguefire the Ambulance Box virtual tour bus keeps chugging along. It's a remarkable engine, managing to pull me over the Atlantic and back in a week with barely a dampened spark plug to speak of.

Today, it pulls into Cadwallender, the eponymous blog of Edinburgh-based poet and editor Kevin Cadwallender, whose Dances With Vowels: New and Selected Poems came out on Smokestack last month. Kevin asks me 10 rather intriguing questions. Where else would Adrian Mitchell, Willam Dunbar, John Ashberry, Ian Hamilton Finlay and slam be likely to turn up in the same post?

Next week, it's another hop over the pond for a few questions at Jilly Dybka's Poetry Hut blog. Chug, chug!

(image)



The Words are Wild

2009-07-13T16:03:21.102+01:00

Just finished reading Shira Wolosky's The Art of Poetry: How to Read a Poem, which I borrowed from the Scottish Poetry Library. Good book, I thought; one I'd certainly recommend as a general overview of poetic form and rhetoric. I might well buy a copy for reference. Only once or twice did really think she'd missed something or got it slightly wrong about a poem, but she knows a lot more than I do. But I was amused by the following sentence, which closes a brief assessment of Poe and is the book's only comment on poetry in a language other than English:

Such poems [those that "try to block the process of signification altogether"] remain, however, rather extreme cases, although they are wildly influential in France.

(p 193, emphasis mine.)

Dear me, whatever will those French folk think of doing next?

(image)



Duffy, Hughes, Eliot and Translation

2009-07-12T20:19:45.570+01:00

This week, Carol Ann Duffy launched her new poetry prize: the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for

the most exciting contribution to poetry in that year.

It's a generous gesture from the new laureate, though questions have been asked about whether we need another poetry award. The test will be the shortlists: if they copy those of the other prizes, the Ted Hughes Award will be pointless; if they're as broad as the outlined criteria, it could be worthwhile:

Eligible works include, but are not limited to, poetry collections (for adults or children), individual published poems, radio poems, verse translations, verse dramas, libretti, film poems, and public poetry pieces.

It's particularly encouraging that translations will be in the running. Translation is an art largely unsung in the UK. Indeed, the rules for the TS Eliot Prize stipulate:

Books which contain more than twenty percent (20%) translations (including versions, imitations or any poetry inspired by the work of one or more other writers) will not be eligible. Percentages should be calculated on the total number of lines of poetry in a book.

A translation award could too easily reinforce the ghettoisation of translated poetry but, by including it along with untranslated work, I sincerely hope Duffy's new prize helps to raise the status of translating in the British poetry scene.

(image)



Reviews Bubbling Up

2009-07-16T09:25:42.271+01:00

(image)

The first print review of The Ambulance Box is in! It's part of a piece in Magma 44, where Rosie Shepperd reviews it alongside Paula Meehan’s Painting Rain (Carcanet) and River Wolton’s The Purpose of Your Visit (Smith/Doorstop Books). The review is thorough and extremely positive. Here's a headline quote:

delights readers with a dance through images and words that express powerful visionary and and spiritual experiences.

The issue also contains reviews of several friends' books: Ben Wilkinson reviews Rob A Mackenzie's The Opposite of Cabbage enthusiastically alongside no lesser names than Mark Doty and John Agard; there's a mixed review of Lorraine Mariner's fresh quirky and moving Furniture that nonetheless includes some high praise indeed; and another fine poet, Claire Crowther, provides a very positive review of Polly Clark's Farewell My Lovely.

Click the cover image above to go to the page for this issue of the magazine, though you can't read the review online. It's a great encouragement to be reviewed so warmly in such a good publication.

(image)



Bridging the Pond

2009-07-08T13:57:31.824+01:00

(image) My Cyclone virtual book tour skips over the Atlantic today to stop in Ojai, California at poet Robert Peake's blog. Thanks to the wonders of Skype and Robert's technical know-how, you can see and hear us discuss the surprises of publication; language; the music of poetry; the importance of the page; and grief and hope. You can also hear me read "Berlin/Berlin/Berlin" and "Pedestrian" from The Ambulance Box.

The whole 35-minute interview is available to view at Robert's post. The lip sync is a bit out in places, but I hope you take as much pleasure in hearing the interview as I took in speaking to him. Alternatively, you could view the five self-contained sections of video if you don't have time to digest it in a oner or simply play the audio of the full chat. Take time to explore Robert's intelligent, sensitive blog too.

Next week, I'm back on virtual home ground when I stop at Kevin Cadwallender's blog.

(image)



"The Night" Today

2009-07-02T15:39:29.285+01:00

(image) My choice of classic poem has just gone up on the Scottish Poetry Library's Reading Room site. Click here to read my thoughts on Henry Vaughan's "The Night". Don't omit to browse the growing wealth of previous choices too.

(image)



Founded and Boxed

2009-07-02T14:26:17.973+01:00

Just back online after my trip to London for the Lemon Monkey reading (a fanstastic evening of which more anon) and a brief computer hiatus enforced by redecorating. All of which leaves me with two tour stops to catch up on.

First of all, on Monday, as Rob Mackenzie and I sped southwards on the not yet renationalised east coast mainline, Ivy Alvarez posted her interview with me on Dumbfoundry. Swing by to read about Biblical imagery and myth, the distancing or solidary effect of using Scots and how much distance I put between myself and the floor when I first saw copies of my book.

Today, I'm at Mark Calder's blog Boxolgies for some political and theological blether. Read my thoughts on language as power and resistance, the necessity of saying the impossible to say, and how I would review my own poetry*.

*Little do you know what you're letting yourself in for when you ask folk for these questions!

(image)



The Pleasant Sound of Poetry Sales Increasing

2009-06-26T13:37:16.878+01:00

A wee while back, I speculated about the preception and truth of poetry sales. This was before the BBC's admirable poetry season and Salt's cash crisis. Now, today, courtesy of Matt Merritt, I found this article on the effect the Beeb's tranche of programmes has had on poetry sales.

Or, to be more precise, the sales of some poetry books. All by dead white poets, though one of them isn't male. Some of the percentages are staggering, and I can't help but wonder whether there was any similar effect on sales for the contemporary poets who featured as talking heads in Owen Sheers's series on BBC4. They each got to read a poem of theirs, but they were largely there to discuss the poet and poem under scrutiny (and a good thing it was too; I'd much rather have fellow poets do that than non-poet academics).

Would a similar run of programmes on living poets have a similar effect on sales of their works? I guess the Beeb might not find it so easy to get hold of knowledgable, articulate, well-known enthusiasts to present flagship programmes for such a season, but it's well worth a shot. (Any commissioning editors reading this?)

In not unconnected news, Chris Hamilton-Emery blogs compellingly about the origins of, and response to, Salt's "Just One Book" campaign. This, like the response to the BBC season, demonstrates that there is a market for poetry*. The problem is 1) tapping it and 2) broadening it. That's where a well-researched, well-produced, well-presented season on contemporary poetry could do the art a world of good. The public, of course, needs a way into any art form, especially when the reality of its practice challenges their perceptions. The Beeb has shown how it can achieve that. The challenge now is to take that into new territory.

*The Ambulance Box is now into its third print run!

(image)