My first post on Rogue Strands was about the late Evangeline Paterson (see here), an excellent poet and editor. Her work has long been overlooked, but I still go back to it on a regular basis.
All of a sudden, there's been a huge spike in visitors to this blog over the last couple of days, and a quick glance at the stats showed that most were searching for Evangeline Paterson. Checking on Google, I soon found out out that Rob McGibbon has published an interview with Sarah Brown in The Daily Mail of all places, in which she recalls that her husband quoted from one of Paterson's poems, "A Wish for my Children", at Damilola Taylor's memorial service. It's just a mention in a lengthy piece, but hundreds of readers have obviously picked up on it.
I'm delighted that Evangeline Paterson is now receiving some overdue attention, and what's most encouraging is that even Daily Mail readers seem to keen to seek out poetry! But then a sense of ambivalence strikes me. Why is verse sidelined from most people's lives other than at momentous points? Just how much interest in poetry could the popular media generate if such latent curiosity is out there in their readership? Why don't they do so?
The prizes tend to go to books about grief, or dystopias. Or oppression. Or sexual abuse, or any kind of sexual dysfunction. ‘Light verse’ – about as disp...