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

Response to Poetry Live C.H. Sisson
I was put off on page one by Martyn Goff's introductory words: 'It is a recurrent theme in most non-federal countries that the capital gets all the prime arts events while the provinces are left to linger with the second best.' He means that London gets the best shows. 'POETRY LIVE was purposely devised as a United Kingdom promotion.' Martyn Goff will consider even those of us who live in Somerset. 'Regional Arts Associations across the country will have readings not only by local poets, not only by national poets, but also by international ones.' What is an international poet, one wonders? What is a national one? Shakespeare and Dante spring to mind. What is a local poet? A poor, limited fellow whose work editors reject? He, evidently, will never be invited to take part in 'concourse rush hour poetry readings' at Waterloo Station. The commuters knocking over the poets as they rush to catch their trains might well be forgiven for having only 'a passing interest' in poetry at such a time. Anyway, POETRY LIVE 'was conceived to raise the profile of poetry among those who . . . are not necessarily totally committed.'

This illiterate piece of ballyhoo will put any sensible reader on his guard. What is 'a prime arts event'? What is being 'totally committed' to poetry? What is 'raising the profile' of the same? None of this, of course, means anything except in terms of advertising and the media, the organized enemies of human ...


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