Welcome To Talking Verse

This blog is dedicated to discussion on poetry.

Poetry, on the European side of the Atlantic, has hardly progressed since the early 20th Century. Whilst in the USA poetry continues to evolve and present itself afresh.

Part of the reason for this is that the issue of poetry has been debated widely in the USA whereas in Britain, for example, you will be hard pressed to find anything that challenges the status quo of poetry.

There have been a few attempts: the Liverpool Beat poets made an short-lived impact during the early 1960s, but they could only offer a poor imitation of a style from the USA.

A handful of poets in the 20th century did make an impact. Basil Bunting and Tom Leonard shook up the established schools. But compared to the US the impact is small. Whilst other art forms have managed to progress over the years, poetry has stood still. Only the narrative has altered to keep abreast of the times.

Many people look to poetry to ‘tell’ them something; as if poetry were some form of journalism or propaganda. The laureateship of Carol Anne Duffy has only reinforced that view. But it is not simply a case of blaming the poets. Duffy is only responding to a demand that arises out of a society that pushes art for other ends, rather than simply art for the sake of it.

Today there is a wide awareness of poetry, the internet is weighted down with poetry sites that offer varying degrees of quality. Poetry is as valid as any other art form but only as long as it operates as an art form. Poets should not be seen as harbingers and the audience should look for meaning rather than rely on the poet or critic to provide answers.


This blog welcomes essays and book reviews about poetry. Please do not submit any poetry. If you wish to use a blog to submit poetry then I would recommend The Poets' Graves Workshop.

All submissions will be read and editing suggestions may be put to the author before being posted. Rejection by the author of any suggestion does not preclude it from being posted on the site.

Talking Verse follows no particular school of thought and has no other remit apart from the widest debate on matters of poetry.

Please submit here

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Phantom of the Apple by John Kay

Review by Phil Thornton

This collection of American poet, John Kay’s work begins with a quote from Camus’ s ‘Myth of Sisyphus’;

“The worm is in man’s heart”

An apt start for a collection of poems pre-occupied with the author’s own heart related health issues. Like many American poets, Kay gets straight to the er, heart of the issue, forsaking the structural showboating and vainglorious stylizations of many European writers in a bid to connect via emotion. Not that Kay doesn’t have a style, but that style serves the poem and not the author.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Doing The Standing Still

Essay by Denis Joe
I remember going to a poetry reading at the Bluecoat, in Liverpool, a few years back.  Gordon D Henry was reading and there was a Q&A session after.  The first question asked from the audience left me gobsmacked at the arrogance of the questioner, who wanted to know how she could best use her poetry to put across her anti-racism.

It was not simply her self-delusion of grandeur that rankled me but also that question implied that poetry was no better than journalism or propaganda.  She seemed to suggest that there is nothing to poetry except the banality of its literal  meaning.