Recent Poetry Pickings

Dennis O’Driscoll
"Poetry is read only by poets and that's its sickness".
- Carol Rumens, Poetry Review.
"Poetry self-evidently is born out of speech. It's a tautology to describe it as a spoken art".
- Paul Durcan, RTE Radio 1.
"I don't think my generation of poets have really proved to be very good examples to younger poets. Obviously, the most famous and most accomplished poet of my generation was Philip Larkin . Larkin, however good he is, is set against rhetoric - rightly, perhaps - and set against daring; and daring is just what young poets ought to make use of when they are trying their wings in the first place".
"My argument with English poetry of the post-Philip Larkin era is the denigration of it to a sideline: when you're not being a civil servant, you write poetry at the weekends. I think poetry demands more than that; it demands a total sacrifice".
- Jeremy Reed, RTE Radio 1.
"I would like to advise those who think that in the President's chair sits a poet, dreamer and naive fellow, that even a poet has teeth".
- Vaclav Havel, quoted in The Sunday Tribune.
"Last year's edition of the Directory of American Poets included 4,672 poets, all of them published, and all of them, incredibly, approved by a committee which determines that they are, in fact, poets. To read only one book by every living American poet - at the rate of one book a day, with no weekends or holidays off ,puld take thirteen years, during which time another few thousand
.' ts would have appeared".
- Eliot Weinberger, Index on Censorship.
"There is very little real poetry coming out of America at the moment because they have tried to harness Pegasus to the university and have turned it into a carthorse just plodding along".
- Les A. Murray, BBC Radio 3.
"There are probably at this moment in this country more than a hundred lyric poets writing between the ages of 22 and 67 who are all capable of greatness and who have all written individual poems that are astonishing in their beauty and originality. So, I think, it's very possible that what we're experiencing is a Golden Age of American Poetry".
_ Norman Dubie, American Poetry Review.
"No one can say that America has been inhospitable to the Irish poets. On the contrary, we apparently prefer them to our own domestic product, greeting them with praise and university employment as soon as they present themselves".
- Alfred Corn, Poetry.
"If English poets suffer from indifference, Irish poets suffer from
too much public expectation".
- Thomas McCarthy, Agenda.
"With British poets there so often seem to be only two or three reasonable poems in anyone volume. There are very few books worth buying, which is very saddening".
- Dannie Abse, The New Welsh Review .
"British poets have never been comfortable with vers libre in the way American poets are; we still consider it to be somehow
- Adam Thorpe, The Literary Review.
"The re-taking of the ground of fiction from prose is perhaps the most striking development in contemporary English poetry".
_ Bernard O'Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement.
"I find that in English I'm more of a rational human being. When I'm writing or speaking Irish I behave more intuitively".
_ Gabriel Rosenstock, RTE Radio 1.
"I think one of the nasty aspects, that has become a kind of orthodoxy about poetry, is the view that in anyone generation only two or three poets can be of any value. That's rubbish. It was always rubbish".
- John Lucas, BBC Radio 3.
"I still have a belief that poetry is in some sense (and 1 know it is an archaic sense) a sacred art: that it is doing things like the Adamic naming of creatures, paying tribute to spots of time or moments of inherent excellence - things that are not fully accessible to secular discourse" .
- Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Oxford Poetry.
"Poetry festivals, workshops and the rest have produced an idiom of poetry-competitionese, a facile imitation of the surface, not a search for the source".
- Kathleen Raine, Agenda.
"Of the tight-rope acts of language, that of the translation of poetry is the most defiant. There is no safety net".
- George Steiner, The Sunday Times.
"Form was never a mode of civilization. Nor was it ever nor will it ever be, a mode of evading disorder. On the contrary, it is a method of engaging it without yielding to its prescriptions".
- Eavan Boland, PN Review.
. t;It is a beautiful poem but I tried not to think of it in relation to me. )t was a li~tle bit of a trial at times. What you expect for your child ~hen she IS a month old and safely lying in an eighteenth-century 9radle bears no relation to what you get when she is twelve or thirteen years old!"
- Anne Yeats, discussing 'Prayer to My Daughter',
BBC Radio 3.
how much poetry was lost with the closing of the Harcourt Line!"
- John Montague, The Irish Times.
    ale     thO g happen was inexact.
"Auden's conviction that poetry m es n~ ~n bad poets make
Bad poetry makes nothing happen, large y ec~~sethe form so the
    nothing happen to poetry - they. cannot exlcdI"e     ,
    be         ected to excIte the wor .

    form can har y     exp     W d The Sunday Correspondent.
- James 00,
        t     says a commission of

    "Britain has too many brands 0 poe ry,     h     Rational
    .     d 00 little difference between tern.,     .
    enquIrY, . an. ~     "f UK poets are to compete m the smgle
restructunng IS Imperative 1
    Euro ean market".     ,     "A     en
P _ DJ. Enright, in his prose-poem, Marketmg, cum .
    ,,'     '"     d"     standard for modem unfairness, and
    Sylvia Plath s Dad y set a.     tr 'n which the author insults
gave birth to a genre o~, Amencan poe Y 1
    her nearest and dearest. F     The Independent on Sunday.
- James enton,
Page 115, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28