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This item is taken from PN Review 146, Volume 28 Number 6, July - August 2002.

Letter from James Sutherland-Smith
Scanning Kwesi Johnson

Sir:

May I offer a corrective reflection on your last Editorial (PNR 145)? I once read Kwesi Johnson's 'Mekkin History' to an audience of more than a hundred students at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Petrozavodsk in Karelia. I speak RP not Creole but nevertheless, at the end of the poem, the audience rose to their feet and applauded wildly. The rhythm of the poem must have captured them rather than 'whitey's' particular rendition. If the rhythm comes off the page it can't be argued away. I didn't get quite the same reactions with any of the other poets that I read to the students, although these included Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, Peter Reading, Carol Ann Duffy, Fleur Adcock, Kit Wright and myself (though I really tried with the last of these).

JAMES SUTHERLAND-SMITH
Slovak Republic


This item is taken from PN Review 146, Volume 28 Number 6, July - August 2002.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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