At The Sharp End: Poets? They've no rhyme or reason
Christina Patterson is a writer, broadcaster and columnist. She writes about politics, society, culture, travel, books and the arts. She has interviewed writers and artists ranging from Martin Amis to Eddie Izzard and Werner Herzog, and did the first interview after he left office with Gordon Brown. A former director of the Poetry Society, and literary programmer at the Southbank Centre, she has written for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Time, the Spectator and the New Statesman. She’s a regular commentator on radio and TV news programmes, a regular reviewer on the Sky News press preview, and a regular guest on The Review Show. She has campaigned to improve standards in nursing in a series of articles in the Independent, by speaking at conferences, and in programmes she has made for Radio 4 and The One Show. Christina is the only woman on the shortlist for the Orwell Prize 2013. She has now left The Independent, but can be contacted via her website, www.christinapatterson.co.uk .
Wednesday 09 February 2005
There are, he points out, no histories of sanity, or professional experts, or "famously sane poets". He's right, of course, but as someone who has spent many years working with poets, I can't say that conspicuous sanity is often top of the list of the traits they share. It could be a legacy of the "mad, bad and dangerous" Romantic tradition or it could just be that you have to be... let's say, pretty unusual to devote your life to something so little prized and so badly paid. It is, I fear, one instance where you don't have to be mad etc, but it probably does help.
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