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This report is taken from PN Review 58, Volume 14 Number 2, November - December 1987.

Response to Poetry Live Eavan Boland
I think 'Poetry Live' might well have caused reservations in my mind anyway. But when I received the copy of PN Review, which recorded the occasion of it, my reaction was more superficial. Something about it all, from the language of the publishers to the slightly airless and forced enthusiasm, reminded me of something else. But what? a little rummaging, a little pulling down of papers and raising up of dust. And I had it.

In September 1963 an issue of Books and Bookmen was published. Across the cover was the question 'Why Publish Poetry'. The article consisted of a forum of six publishers. There was Charles Monteith of Faber and Rupert Hart-Davis, Diana Athill of Deutsch and Colin Franklin of Routledge and Kegan Paul. Finally, Erica Marx of Hand and Flower Press was involved. The interviewer was John Smith, at that time editor of Poetry Review.

It was a gentle discussion, eminently civilized and ranging from the ideal to the real. It was also an honest one. Diana Athill, for instance, said: 'Reading poetry I feel it all becomes very subjective, very personal and I'm terrified that I'm making mistakes.' Erica Marx said, 'I think the very reasons why you publish poetry are the reasons that it does entail a sort of exploratory revelation of one's self'. More interestingly, Charles Monteith commented: 'I suppose you can sum it up by saying that you publish poetry because you enjoy doing it; then if you build up a ...


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