104. Gefährlich

Peter Riley in The Fortnightly Review über „Poetry Parnassus“:

Having read carefully the publicity for the event I was at once struck by two things. Firstly, although there is mention of poetry being “one of the most democratic of art forms” (I don’t know why that should be so), it was immediately evident that not all the poets of the world have the same status. Some got to read in the real auditoria of the complex, and you had to pay to hear them, up to £35. These were the special poets – mostly top sellers and prize-winners in U.K. The rest of the poets, which was the vast majority, gave free readings in various foyers and open spaces in which they had to contend with interference from external noise and activity, such as a large and busy bar, as well as a general feeling of camping. The other thing was that although there was supposed to be one poet each of some 200 nationalities, there were evidently plenty of back doors through which British poets could get in on the show, sessions promoted by various book and magazine publishers and organisations, probably not officially within Poetry Parnassus but on the ground very much a part of it and included in the brochure. These had an international content at the discretion of the editors but I reckon that in all some 15 to 20 “extra” British poets took part, some of them (Armitage, Motion and Muldoon) doing extended solo sessions or lectures. I can’t help wondering whether all 200 poets democratically got the same fee, but as there’s no information available on that let’s assume they did.

There was also, of course, quite a lot of tomfoolery, as you’d expect, mostly in the form of participatory sessions aside from the main menu in which people played fun and games with poetry. Here’s one of them:

Saturday, 6pm-9pm. POETRY PYJAMA PARTY

Bring your own torch, some pjs and a copy of The World Record Anthology, then crawl under a blanket and read along with poets by torchlight. Bed sheets provided. (Free).

I have known poets to crawl under a blanket with whom would be an extremely dangerous proposition for almost anybody.

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