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PN Review 276
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This interview is taken from PN Review 272, Volume 49 Number 6, July - August 2023.

In conversation with Jon Glover Rory Waterman
RW: You became involved in several publications during your student days at Leeds University in the 1960s: the student magazine Sixty-One, Poetry and Audience and, of course, Stand. Was this a particularly exciting time for a young poet, and Leeds a particularly exciting place to be one?

JG: On reflection, it was exciting. Though I want to say immediately that I was not self-consciously ‘a young poet’, and excitements about whom I met – student journal organisers and editors, student poets, published poets (staff, visitors, Fellows), when and where I met them, how and why I met them – were factors intimately and ‘locally’ linked to the daily human contacts and feelings of ‘studentdom’. So, on reflection, from the second year of my BA English Literature and Philosophy (1963–4), the sense of a writing buzz came from meetings, especially in the Mouatt-Jones Coffee Lounge and the Student Union bar. From our present times of popular, practice-led, and writer-orientated BA to PhD programmes in the 2020s, it is strange to look back at ‘student-led’ programmes (for that is what they were) working at sophisticated and self-consciously standard-led, policy-led and creativity-led opportunities being there sitting next to a fascinating person over coffee.

Of course, there are tales to tell about who our lecturers were – poets and editors with first-hand contacts with writers and writing in the publishing worlds. So, a question I ask now is: was the student-led excitement and infectiveness a natural spin-off from the curricula and lecturers with whom we met and talked incessantly? And the question after that is how and ...

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