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This review is taken from PN Review 141, Volume 28 Number 1, September - October 2001.

ALL GENNED UP ANNE ROUSE, Sunset Grill (Bloodaxe) £5.95
ANNE ROUSE, Timing (Bloodaxe) £6.95

I


It has been instructive to read Poetry Review's reprise of their New Generation promotion. Mirroring the process by which New Labour brought many apparent opponents into their orbit - Mrs Thatcher, Shaun Woodward, Geri Halliwell - New Generation's spokesman Peter Forbes makes a broad church of what had seemed a narrow sect. Just as the electorate is now all New Labour, so it would seem poets are now all New Gen. And so Forbes includes elder statesmen, who, by a trick of spin, have been influenced retrospectively - step right up those prominent members of Old Gen, Heaney and Motion; 'lone mavericks' (Forbes' words) such as Peter Reading; and refuseniks like Carol Ann Duffy, who just said 'No' last time round. He also, as part of his programme of social inclusion, co-opts Sophie Hannah and Kate Clanchy: Next Generation, perhaps. Resistance is futile.

One poet whose work has been overlooked by this gimmicky and self-serving alignment, whose members all seem pleased with themselves and at the same time slightly shame-faced, is Anne Rouse. An American poet who has been living in this country for over twenty-five years, hers is a very different kind of vocation to set alongside the many whose 'careers' have been Newly Generated. The author of two volumes, respectively Sunset Grill (1993) and Timing (1997), both published by Bloodaxe, she is emblematic of those who are marginalised when facile promotions harden into an Establishment.

II

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