A GUARDIAN UK article, written by Alison Flood and published over the weekend, quotes the Forward prize judge and TV presenter Jeremy Paxman as wishing aloud that “poetry ‘would raise its game a little bit, raise its sights’, and ‘aim to engage with ordinary people much more.’” Every so often you encounter this lament, often uttered by poets, that poetry has become irrelevant to the great mass of plain old folk.
RARE IS the day that I do not find a piece of bad writing in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Post, or Globe and Mail. This statement, I am confident, could be applied with justice to any newspaper of your choosing. The badness is delivered in many varieties, and in fairness I must observe that some errors are a product of working conditions, deadlines and the under-resourcing of bureaus and so on. Most bad writing however has as its root a more troubling fact: its creators do not know what words mean.