Monday, March 14, 2011



Is Britain a literary country or is is all fastfood poetry these days?
Kenneth White in (a rare) interview which I'm excited to have come across.

He begins by reading one of his poems. I was really spoilt in my first ever trip to StAnza back in 2008 in getting to hear Kenneth White read for an hour. The best poetry reading I've been and it's hard to imagine it being topped. What joy to hear him read in this clip. I love his playfulness, energy, enthusiasm and so much more (including the poetry of course!!).

See the interview here.

7 comments:

Titus said...

Thanks for the link. Very interesting about the fastfood poetry - I was reading some Carol Ann Duffy somewhere (Lord help me, I can't remember where) and, whisper it, was a little taken aback by its immediacy with lack of much that I could detect underneath. In fairness, it was only 2 or 3 poems.

Marion McCready said...

you know, I've not been able to open a CAD collection since I heard her read at StAnza in 2009...

Titus said...

Ah.
Have a brilliant time, sun's shining here so hopefully it will not just be great poetry, but great weather.

swiss said...

i'm not so sure he was talking about poetry in particular but literature in general tho even given the limited time he had he did seem to be veering a little towards the 'too many books argument' which is kind of depressing.

that said, you only have to look at what's available for kenneth white on amazon france compared to amazon uk as a watermark of comparative interest. i don;t think i'll be waiting for the english version of le carte de guido!

Marion McCready said...

I don't think it's the 'too many books' but rather the kind of poetry that's being published. I mean he pretty much writes off the majority of the poetry scene and while I don't agree with him I like where he's coming from about looking for a more radical, expansive poetry as opposed to anecdotal stuff.

swiss said...

i've been thinking more about this, not least because i'm struggling with the painting i'm working on just now (sometimes the bad weather is a godsend for keeping me indoors!) and listening to this
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zd92g
in it, andrew motion of all people (at about 12:20), talks about the notion of the 'exact proposition' and its shortcomings as opposed ot a poem that he's not quite sure about, that he can live with for much longer. later he talks about the 'joyful exuberance' of angela carter, ironic for me as i'm halfway thru czeslaw milosz's unattainable earth where someone goes on about milosz's desire to confront the 'ecstatic experience of life on earth'

i really quite liked that, not just because it struck a chord, but because what i like about white's poetry is pretty much just that and i think that notion is reflected in white himself. and not too much elswhere! lol

i'd also recommend the carter programme as it features marina warner who, for me, remains some sort of colossus!

Marion McCready said...

thanks for the link, I'm interested in Carter, need to read more of her stuff. also interesting to hear Motion talk about "a good unclarity".
yes I agree with you about White, he certainly embodies his poetry in his person, that's partly what makes him so fascinating.