Letter: True grit of bards

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The Independent Online
Sir: I happened to have stopped in Betws-y-coed, on my way back from a poetry course, when I saw your front-page account of the challenge issued to James Fenton by Adrian Mitchell ('Fenton shadow-boxes as Mitchell hypes big fight', 20 August).

It did not surprise me. Poetry is taken seriously in Wales. Poets in the pub in the village of Llanystumdwy, where I was staying, sparred and fought in defence of their art long after lock-in time, while bemused visitors could only marvel at the passion created by the verse.

Perhaps James Fenton should take up the challenge - such a battle of the giants would forever dispel the myth that the writing and performance of poetry is a genteel pursuit.

Yours faithfully,

MADELEINE HEANEY

Northampton

22 August

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