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This article is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

Creative Writing as Curriculum or Subversion
T.S. Eliot, Bonamy Dobrée and the Gregory Fellows in Leeds
Jon Glover
Behind this article are several personal interests, concerns and experiences. One of the strangest has been watching the emergence of the universities as providers of the UK's first career structure for poets and, indeed, their becoming poets' first regular employers - the reward of lecturers' and professors' salaries to write, talk about and hand on their love: poetry; and this, not as critics but creators. Only fifteen or twenty years ago this was hardly the case. Poets were employed in universities but only rarely because they were poets or to teach writing. I contend that in the last few years there has been a massive shift of cultural capital - for poetry, the people and money, the social and educational structures and the cultural meeting places and hot spots have shifted to universities.

But is this true? Have they 'shifted' - in the sense of 'poetry' already existing elsewhere but relocating to Belfast and St Andrews and Manchester - or have they been created or recreated in new shapes and forms, from pre-existing elements, but transformed now into other material (an odd variant of Eliot's catalyst model)? I want to look at a couple of examples of the processes at work in 'shifting' poetry. I want to look at what people thought was being handed on, at what might really have been handed on up to the present, and at whether things are different now. It may seem silly, but perhaps it is especially useful now to ask what the 'things' of poetry really are, 'embodied' or 'objectified'.

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