Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Review of "Poetry at Work"

U.K. poet James Sale has posted a review of Poetry at Work at Amazon UK. Here’s what he had to say.

“There are at least two reasons why this is an important book on poetry, as relevant now as when it was published some 6 years ago. First, Glynn Young realises that over the last 30 years poetry has been hijacked by academics; it’s no longer a poetry by the people for the people. Rather, every second poet you hear about nowadays is Professor X or Dr Y doing research on language somewhere you have never heard of. This is pernicious as it has created a cartel of influence in which the ‘experts’ congratulate each others’ books, but in reality very few people are reading them. Why would they? I cannot think of any academic poet of the last 30 years who has written one poem that stands comparison with Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.’ 

“The thing about poetry is that it is not written by ‘experts’ – its origin is very different. Which leads on to the second reason why Young’s book is so important. If poetry is highly unlikely to be found in academia, where is it to be found? The answer of course is that it will be found in real life, and more specifically, as Young shows, at work. What Young does is re-examine how poetry is everywhere around us, and that it is the poet’s at work who have so much to contribute. That said, as Young observes, ‘Poets, if they remain creative, can find themselves as road kill on the organisational highway.’ It would be good to see these ideas developed further and not allowed to remain fallow; poetry deserves to be widely disseminated and read, and this will never happen so long as the ‘academics’ have it ‘in thrall’. Read this book – it’s worth it.”

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