Letter: Poets pack a punch

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The Independent Online
Sir: Before either Adrian Mitchell or James Fenton throws in a vowel ('Fenton shadow-boxes as Mitchell hypes big fight', 20 August), may I put on record that poetry fights are not new: they began in Chicago more than a decade ago, organised by two local writers, Terry Jacobus and Al Simmons (the first Commissioner).

In one form they continue across the US as 'poetry slams', knockout contests held in saloons and coffee houses; in another, as the world championship held annually in Taos, New Mexico. The winner is awarded a bronze fist on a spring - a trophy named The Max in memory of Max Finstein, a local poet.

Yours faithfully,

TOM RAWORTH

Cambridge

20 August

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