Poetry seems to be ever-present and ever-popular. From the youthful lyrics penned by US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, to the poems read and written by over 86 million visitors to 100-poems.com, poetry is important to all sorts of people. But are we asking of poetry something that it cannot deliver? Poetry has been co-opted into therapy culture, with ‘Poetry Doctor’ Daisy Goodwin prescribing poems online for the stressed and depressed. Poetry is also marshalled to do and say what politics and politicians seem unable to: poets leap into the breach in everything from fighting racism, with the Love Poetry Hate Racism initiative, to protest against the Iraq war through the prosaically-named Poets Against War.
But if we ask of poetry that it cure our personal and political ills, are we not only heading for failure but also missing the point about poetry? Should poetry please us for itself, if it should aim to please us at all? Or is poetry more pleasing if it not only has something to say about the social and political world we live in, but a role to play in shaping that world as well? Is there any room left for poetry that is purely for pleasure?
The session will feature poetry readings from:
-Jay Bernard, winner, London Respect Slam (2004) and Foyle Young Poets of the Year (2005)
-Tom Chivers, poet and director, Penned in the Margins
-Inua Ellams, poet; author, 13 Fairy Negro Tales
-Laura Forman, Generation Txt poet
-Luke Kennard, poet; winner, Eric Gregory Award (2005)
-Ion Martea, poet; commissioning editor, film, www.culturewars.org.uk
Compere: David Bowden, poet, writer and playwright
editor, Guardian Unlimited Books; judge, 2007 Forward Prize
|Dr Shirley Dent|
head of communications, PhonepayPlus; co-author, Radical Blake
|Dr Shirley Dent head of communications, PhonepayPlus; co-author, Radical Blake|
|David Bowden coordinator, UK Battle Satellites; columnist, spiked|
|recommended by spiked|