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This report is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

From the Bow-Wow Shop (3) Michael Glover

Whipping, Public
There is so much bad verse being written these days – wretched, spontanous effusions as misdirected as steam from a kettle – that I feel we must learn a lesson from the Malaysians. We need to restore the long dormant practice of public caning, in football stadia, for those who wantonly persist, day in, day out, in writing bad verse without making the least effort to read – let alone purchase (chance would be a fine thing!) any of the good verse written by other people – such as the fine contributors to this magazine.

I suggest that we establish a Whipping Office, preferably in the basement of the Poetry Society in Betterton Street, Covent Garden, to be overseen during office hours by its able employees. If the practice proves too popular, freelance recruits, fresh from the playing fields of Afghanistan, may be needed to man the office out of hours.

At a single brisk stroke or two, we would have removed the need to encourage the pestilential growth of Creative Writing courses at a tertiary level. Or at any other level.

We need good anthologists just as much as we need an adequate satellite navigation system when we are stumbling, blindfolded, through the mazy back alleys of Mayfair or Calcutta, with insurgents muttering incomprehensibly at our backs. A good anthology is sometimes the only place where readers get a taste of real poetry at all. Single collections ...

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