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The late Mick Imlah’s The Lost Leader (2008), for instance, takes the Heaney-esque story about the child-poet into darker territory with “Railway Children”.
Daljit Nagra, himself a secondary school teacher, included a clever satire on the “Different Cultures” section in his 2007 debut, Look We Have Coming to Dover!
Only time will tell whether it will take its place alongside great poetry of the past.
Most poetry readers tend to be time travellers: browsing among anthologies and old favourites, and only occasionally setting foot in the futuristic present. Poetry is the richest history we have of our inner life.
This template also informs the selection of poems from “Different Cultures” .
I could believe it when I read these bubbling memories of a childhood farm: “All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay / Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys.” Seamus Heaney, of course, ploughed the same furrow, but more soberly, and always with a moral at the end of the field.Barack Obama – who promises to be more attuned to the life of language than his predecessor – chose to have the poet Elizabeth Alexander read at his inauguration.Her definition of poetry identifies the characteristic curiosity of versified words about their own power: “Poetry (here I hear myself loudest) / is the human voice, / and are we not of interest to each other?The effort that goes into widening the readership for contemporary poetry, therefore, often seems misplaced.The late Adrian Mitchell used to say that “most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people”.