Tory Poetry, UK Poets of Color, and the Oxford Job Hunt
"Britain in 2009 is not the same as Britain in 1959." So says Boris Johnson, Tory mayor of London and snappy blogger. To prove his point, Johnson recently went off on how little poetry British students know by heart, and has made a modest proposal with hopes of rectifying the "Kulturkampf":
So I say to my friends in the Tory high command, here is your policy. Never mind selective admission, which all parties are now too terrified to contemplate. Never mind all this smart stuff about creating “more good schools”. The way to create more good schools is to insist that the kids learn something good. I propose universal saying lessons in English poetry. I propose that this should involve learning two or three poems a term, off by heart. And if necessary let’s put the best declaimers on TV and get them judged by Simon Cowell.
In less "bug-eyed, foam-flecked, capillary-popping reactionary" poetry news, last week's Poetry Foundation cover story was an "A-Z Hyperguide to U.K. Poets of Color" by Karen McCarthy. While the piece has not sparked the bonfire of blogo that Stephanie Strickland's "Born Digital" exploration of e-lit poets did, "We Brits" has generated some ideas for additions and, curiously, one "yabba dabba doo."
And in other news from across the pond, Derek Walcott wants a job.
Travis Nichols is the author of two books of poetry: Iowa (2010, Letter Machine Editions) and See Me Improving (2010); and he is the author of two novels: Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (2012) and The More You Ignore Me (2013). He has contributed to The Believer, Paste, The...