Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Newsnight Review

Well, I almost was: the covers for The Ambulance Box, The Opposite of Cabbage and Ian Gregson's How We Met filled the screen momentarily as a clip from Salt's Just One Book video was played. Priceless advertising! Chris got a few seconds on the campaign, on which you can read the latest here.

You can watch the programme here for the next seven days. It was great to have an edition of Newsnight Review dedicated to poetry. Simon Armitage spoke a lot of sense, to my mind, but most of the panel came over well. The hip-hop artist, whose name escapes me, also impressed me. A pity we didn't hear or see any of his Shakespeare work.

I have to say, hooray for the licence fee! We wouldn't have had a poetry season without it, would we?


Stephen Nelson said...

Nice to see the cover flash across the screen!

I agree Simon Armitage made a lot of sense. However I thought the women represented everything I dislike about the poetry world - name dropping, conventional thinking, aligning herself with "the canon" and being just downright fusty, musty and dusty. There are new ways of teaching poetry that don't name drop all the canonical faves!

All seems pretty narrow to me - as if poetry is represented by one particular way of writing (with the usual concessions to performance poetry and song writing), instead of the multi-coloured, multi-dimensional garment it is. What about prose poetry, minimalism, language poetry, writing in freakin Scots (or Mancunian for that matter??

On one hand I'm thankful for a little exposure; on the other, I can't help thinking these BBC programmes only serve to marginalise less mainstream forms and expresion thus towing the line with the Oxford circus, as if it and it alone represented poetry. Why not do something on concrete poetry or experimental writing instead of going over Milton and Donne (yes, lukewright, we all did modules on these guys at university) or poor old Sylvia Plath for the zillionth time? Indeed why not focus on a contemporary young poet instead of a cursory nod in that direction via some barely memorable anthology.

Still, good that SALT got a mention. Hope it helps sales and keeps things going down there for a while.

Rachel Fox said...

It was an interesting half hour - thanks for the link. I thought all of the people on the panel said interesting things at some point or other (and they had Scroobius Pip on the programme too - fantastic!). Overall it covered quite a lot of ground in a short time. I did wonder who gave the presenter her notes though...'pastoral and peaceful world' of poetry? She should visit some blogs...or even look at the tensions on the faces of her panellists now and again (there was quite a lot of disagreement...understated and polite but there all the same).

Andrew Philip said...

Bang on, Stephen. The season has included some great programmes for which I'm grateful, but the lack of contemporary poetry -- let alone non-mainstream contemporary poetry -- outside the brief slots on Radio 3's breakfast show has been woeful.

Rachel, the presenter's intros infuriated me too. Full of such banal, silly journoisms, some of them downright ignorant. But she didn't do too badly handling the discussion.

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