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This report is taken from PN Review 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.

Making News M. Schmidt
I had a telephone call from a Sunday Times reporter early in February. She told me she was doing a piece on the Poetry Sales Boom. I told her she should print it on the Fiction Page. As far as I knew, there was no Boom. She persisted: she had heard there was a Boom and that I was in part responsible. And besides, such an article would be good publicity for poetry. We talked for forty-five minutes or so, and the next day I rang her with a few second thoughts. Then-on 13 February-'Poetry and the Profit Motive' appeared. It would be wrong to call it a forgery. It was based, not on reading (goodness knows there is enough in print on the subject, and most of it would have clarified her thinking) but on hastily conducted interviews, rapidly collated. The reporter's heart was doubtless in the right place: poetry was a 'good thing', and some books no doubt have sold well over the last two or three years. All the same, I was troubled by the views that were attributed to me. I wrote a brief letter for publication.


In her piece 'Poetry and the Profit Motive' (ST 13 February), Leslie Geddes-Brown quotes me as saying 'a new generation is clearly emerging. It's as exhilarating as the Hughes, Larkin, Thom Gunn crop. James Fenton, Craig Raine, Andrew Motion and Chris Reid have a coherence in the same sense.' I did not say this. If Ms ...


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