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This report is taken from PN Review 83, Volume 18 Number 3, January - February 1992.

Comment C.H. Sisson
Serious thought should perhaps be given to the inclusion of The Writing of Poetry as a subject in the national curriculum. Targets should be set, to ensure that, as from the earliest practicable date in the twenty-first century - which is confidently expected to be one of unprecedented enlightenment - there is no-one in Britain, over the age of 18, who is not, if not an established poet, at least a published one.

It has reluctantly to be conceded that knowledge of the alphabet must come first, but Whitehall sources have made the point that too much attention should not be paid to the formation of the letters, or to other refinements which conservatively-minded teachers and parents have, it is felt, made too much of in the past. A similar reservation applies to the ordering of the letters in use at any one particular time. It is thought that insistence on anything like uniformity of spelling is bound to lead to a drabness which will have wider social consequences, producing a population of teachers' clones.

There is still work to be done on the detail of this part of the curriculum, in particular in relation to projects for the diversification of spelling, but the committee which is master-minding the whole exercise is said to feel that, in view of the paramount importance of achieving something more than mere perfection in the performance of poets as a whole, work should begin at once on the later phases of ...


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