Letter: New poets who are old before their time

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BLAKE MORRISON claims ('Poetry is alive and well . . .', 13 June) that the Bloodaxe The New Poetry anthology 'introduces a new generation . . . excluding all the poets in the last anthology of this kind, The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry, edited by Andrew Motion and myself in 1982.' This is what The New Poetry's packaging would have its readers believe; but the fact is that as recently as last year Grandchildren of Albion (edited and published by me at my own expense) introduced 40 British poets from exactly the same generation, with just as high a proportion of non-London/Oxbridge-based contributors.

Six poets, indeed, appear in both anthologies: the Indian Sujata Bhatt; the Caribbeans, Grace Nichols and Linton Kwesi Johnson; Anglo-French Michele Roberts; Ian McMillan from Barnsley; and Glasgow-born Carol Ann Duffy (with, among many others, the very poem Blake Morrison cites as being introduced in The New Poetry). The main difference is that Grandchildren of Albion, which has 50 more pages than The New Poetry, gives a total of 76 pages to the work of these poets, as compared to The New Poetry's 38 - yet the Bloodaxe anthology nowhere acknowledges Grandchildren's precedent. If poetry is news that stays news, let it be

true news.

Michael Horovitz

Editor, New Departures

Bisley, Gloucestershire