Letter: Better for verse

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter Forbes

Sir: Michael Glover's Eeyorish account of the parlous state of some poetry publishers' lists ("The problem with poetry", 10 October) should not go unchallenged.

Mr Glover omits any mention of the acknowledged market leaders: Faber, Bloodaxe and Penguin. Here are some figures given to me by Faber yesterday: Auden, Tell Me the Truth About Love, 165,000; Philip Larkin, Collected Poems, 73,000; Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings, 260,000.

Further examples from other publishers: Poems on the Underground has done more than 100,000, Betjeman's Collected Poems has sold almost 2 million; and poets such as Seamus Heaney, Tony Harrison and Wendy Cope sell in the tens of thousands.

So why does Mr Glover focus entirely on publishers who simply aren't very good at selling poetry?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Forbes


Poetry Review

The Poetry Society

London, WC2