Letter: Worthless verse

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The Independent Culture
Sir: May I add a word of support to the Oxford University Press in their decision to junk their poetry list. I have spent most of my working life in and around poetry and I have noticed that increasingly poets do not feel any sense of worth unless their work is published. It is like a fetish and does not diminish with age. Unfortunately most poems are worthless and to publish them is madness.

Such fragile reputations as OUP's former poets enjoy are mainly due to promotion through their own incestuous groups. Certainly no one else is in the least bit interested in their work, as sales figures show.

The Greek master Cavafy never bothered with publishers. He made lots of copies of his poems, held them together with a paper clip and sent them to his friends. I recommend it.


London SW4