It’s always great when poetry gets media focus, it is one of the great things about the BBC, and definitely something that proves the license fee is needed. I doubt advertisers would have any interest in poetry – look what happened to Richard and Judy, that was a ratings winner, it’s book club was a major influence on the book charts, and still it was booted to some random minor Sky channel, and then promptly retired.
The BBC is currently running a poetry season (no doubt the appointment of the new Poet Laureate, and the positive media coverage, with hits on the new story on the website, helping influence the idea). Last night Griff Rhys Jones was on a program on the Beeb called “Why Poetry Matters”, haven’t had chance to watch it yet, but will do this afternoon. Here’s the program description from iPlayer:
Griff Rhys Jones makes a passionate and personal plea for poetry, exploring how verse has the power to enlighten, entertain, stimulate and seduce.
Griff dissects Keats with Simon Armitage, views a line-up of poetic dandies with Andrew Motion and encounters an experimental poem made from a dozen beach balls. He celebrates W.H. Auden’s Night Mail with a team of railway drivers, takes a Shakespearean masterclass with Nick Hytner and is thrown into the bardic bear pit at a poetry slam.
If you’re in the UK you can watch it on iPlayer, the link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kmtyn/Why_Poetry_Matters/
I’m watching it as I write this, some amazing poetry readings, and some wise words as to the importance, and impact of poetry among society. I may write a proper review of it later.
There’s also a whole Poetry season website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason/
I’ve been going through it today, and it’s well worth spending some time on. I did get caught up short though, they’re doing a vote for the Nation’s Favourite Poet, and I figured “Oh yeah, ace, I’ll have a bit of that!”, as you do, only to find myself torn over the choices. I’m intending on doing a post at some point in the future to explore my love of various poets, so I don’t want to spoil that in this post. However, let me just cover the poets on whom I am torn, and briefly why.