PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
OUP PNR 246 Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Alex Wong embarks on Ausonius's Moselle Christine Blackwell recalls Jonas Mekas Lives of Graves, Trilling and Curnow visited New poems by Lisa Kelly and Jodie Hollander Andy Croft on the 'poetry industry'

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

GALLIMAUFRY FOR THE CHOSEN Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets, edited by Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe)

Why is it would-be canon-builders always deny they’re canon- building? In this case, the would-be canon-builder sticks to the policy of pre-emptive denial as if this might put the reader off the scent: the main purpose of this book, writes Roddy Lumsden in his introduction, ‘is not to act as a canonical document of an era’. This has the feel to it of a politician denying he is interested in the party leadership. What’s curious is the manner in which Lumsden then expressly places his project along the arc of other canon-building books – those by Al Alvarez, Edward Lucie- Smith, Morrison and Motion, and the triumvirate of Hulse, Morley and Kennedy. Whereas Alvarez offered us twenty-eight poets, Hulse et al. fifty-five, Lumsden offers us eighty-five. Things are more plural now, he argues, and poets more gateclamouring: ‘The predominant social and cultural phenomena of the 1990s and 2000s have been diversity and information overload.’

What follows is the slightly dodgier lock-out policy. The critical year is 1995. Anyone who’d published a collection before that date is out. This means omitting some of the founding fathers of the very ‘generation’ to which he now turns his editorial affection; there seems something eerily Shakespearian about a book that omits Don Paterson, for example, and includes Simon Barraclough, David Briggs and Kevin Higgins. Omitting Paterson from the period 1995–2010 is like writing a history of song-writing in the 1960s while omitting Bob Dylan. Paterson misses the cut by only two ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image