Letter: Booker Prize haven

Sir: I was staggered to find in The Independent an article on Bill Griffiths, a good poet of the kind ignored by the established cultural opinion-formers ("Backing into the spotlight", 25 October).

If, as you say, Griffiths doesn't court attention, this is surely because he has long since despaired of getting any. Well, I suppose one should be grateful that you are finally paying him some notice, and never mind that you seem to view him as an amiable freak in need of special pleading.

As a lecturer trying to convey to my students the real variety of contemporary UK poetry, I am constantly daunted by the half-unknowing complicity of the media and poetry's official bodies in ignoring scores of worthwhile poets because their aesthetics don't fit with approved patterns. People attending the readings I help to organise appreciate that the poets promoted in the media and bookshops aren't the only (or even the most rewarding) voices, but intelligent newspapers still find this hard to grasp.

So two cheers for your article. Three will follow when you're ready to publish Britain's neglected poets in your Daily Poem slot as spontaneously as the acclaimed ones.

Denise Riley, Colin Simms, Geraldine Monk, Frances Presley, Lee Harwood - these writers unfailingly fascinate the audiences I present them to. When will you give them their due?

MICHAEL AYTON

Durham

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