Not another bloody poet: what is poetry doing coming out of its “ghetto”?
Not another bloody poet: what is poetry doing coming ouf of its 'ghetto'?
The teaching of Creative Writing exploded across UK universities between 2001 and 2005. Twelve years on, how has this affected contemporary UK poetry? ‘Not another bloody poet’ was supposedly said last year by one of the literary cognoscenti when yet another book of poems won a prize normally seen as reserved for other books. In 2015 two young poets, Sarah Howe and Andrew McMillan, won an unprecedented number of prizes with their debut collections including some previously won only by novels and biographies. Sarah won Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year as well as the TS Eliot Prize, Andrew won Guardian First Book Award as
well as the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.
They will be joined by distinguished poet Ruth Padel, who has won the National Poetry Prize, and whose books 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem andThe Poem and the Journey chart the rise of poetry in Creative Writing in UK universities, and Parisa Ebrahimi, alumna of King’s English Department and one of today’s most successful poetry editors.
The event will be chaired by Declan Ryan, editor of Ambit poetry magazine and King’s international online poetry journal Wild Court, whose first poetry pamphlet came out from Faber last year. The poets will read from their work and discuss with Parisa Ebrahimi, of Chatto & Windus, what the new generation of poets is doing, why so many new audiences are enjoying poetry today, and why poetry is winning prizes previously won only by other genres. Does this surge of interest in poetry across the UK spring from the meteoric rise of Creative Writing courses? Poetry is sometimes called, by people who don’t read it, ‘difficult’, ‘elitist’ or ‘a minority pursuit, like Morris dancing’. Is it now coming out of a “ghetto”, where people who don’t read it prefer to keep it? What does the public really think of poetry today?
PARISA EBRAHIMI is commissioning editor in poetry and fiction at Chatto & Windus.
SARAH HOWE is a British poet, academic and editor. Her first book Loop of Jade won the 2015 TS Eliot Prize and Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. She is founding editor of Prac Crit, an online journal of poetry and criticism, and is Leverhulme Fellow in English at University College London.
ANDREW MCMILLAN’s Physical (2015), was the first ever poetry collection to win the Guardian First Book Award; it also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and a Northern Writers’ Award. He lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University.
RUTH PADEL is Reader in Poetry at King’s, and is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Chatto & Windus will publish her tenth collection, Tidings – A Christmas Journey in November.
DECLAN RYAN is Visiting Lecturer at King’s and founder editor of King’s online poetry magazine Wild Court. He is poetry editor at Ambit. His pamphlet, ‘Faber New Poets 12’, came out in 2014.