When reading the Guardian's feature on the Hay Festival yesterday, I was struck by the absence of poetry. Hay seems to verge on a denial of the genre's existence, as if active involvement with verse could marginalise the festival!
I was thus delighted to see in today's edition of the same paper that Simon Armitage used his appearance at Hay to make that very point:
"...he felt rather a lonely figure at this year's festival. "I wish there were more poetry events," he said. "There are more bodyguards here than there are poets."
Hay is terrifically popular with readers of novels, while access to such people in the context of a festival is just what poetry needs in its search for a larger audience. I very much look forward to seeing next year's programme in the light of Armitage's remarks.
The shortlist for the 25th TS Eliot Prize has been announced, and it's heartening to see a book from Nine Arches Press, Jacqueline Saphra's excellent *All ...