Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Magma and The Herald on Poetry Books

At the Magma blog, we’ve been asking whether or not too many poetry books are being published. It’s not so much that I’ve decided either way on the issue myself – I’m more making public an argument being waged inside my own head.

Coincidentally, I was directed to Saturday’s issue of The Herald newspaper for Lesley McDowell’s article, ‘Dawn of a New Age’ (not online as far as I can tell). She writes on the current state of Scottish poetry, which she regards as very healthy, especially given the large number of prizes Scottish poets have won over the last few years (the question arises as to whether that's an accurate measurement of health). But the topic of whether there are too many poetry books surfaces there too, also whether there are too many bad ones, whether editors and publishers are 'gatekeeping' effectively, what the future might hold for Scottish poetry, and the effect of the Internet. I really need separate posts spaced out over the next week or two to do justice to the article, which is very stimulating – and good on Lesley McDowell for managing to get a two-page article on poetry in a national newspaper!

I did also find what I was originally looking for in the article:

“This is certainly a very fertile period for Scottish poetry,” Robert Alan Jamieson says. “And there is a new generation coming through – Jen Hadfield of course, but also Andrew Philip, Rob A. Mackenzie and Jane McKie (the latter won the Saltire* First Book award with her poetry) – serious writers, as opposed to hobbyists.”

*(actually, it wasn’t the Saltire Award that Jane won, but the Sundial/SAC Award for Best First Book)

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