Sunday, May 31, 2009
The hapless BBC continues apace with its Poetry Season. Friday night's Newsnight Review, dedicated solely to poetry, presented a hackneyed dichotomy of poets-for-the-page (Ruth Padel, Geoffrey Hill) opposed to hip-hop and poetry slams, with nothing in between. Still, they did interview Chris McCabe and Chris Hamilton-Emery, even if they only got about 10 seconds between them. They completely blew the chance to plug Salt's buy-a-book campaign. Instead, they spent ages on the latest Bloodaxe anthology, without putting the anthology, or Bloodaxe itself into any kind of context. Surprisingly, Simon Armitage talked the most sense of anyone on the panel, and gave a good spiel on how poetry shouldn't try too hard to entice readers, but should be an awkward, inconvenient truth-teller (or words to that effect). It's a pity he doesn't follow his own advice. It is strange, though, and even a little heartening, to see poetry given this much space on mainstream media; it's also a reminder of how far it's been pushed into the cultural margin.