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Is there any section or poem that particularly appeals to you? It works on so many different levels and I think people identify with it.There are lots of poems from this book which I really like: the poems about wasps and bees and the body and soul section. I did one in Ilkley the other day on the theme of doppelgangers, and there were a couple of poems that I thought were perfect for that theme.
You can have a theme of personal journeys and you’ll find all these different poems on that theme.
The other great thing about it is that different poems have a conversation with each other, just because of the way the book has been ordered.
It’s been ordered alphabetically and that seems to work as well.
Has the spotlight shone strongly enough on black British poets?
Most of the people reading poems are other poets (of the kind of poets that I’m talking about).
It would just be nice to see those poets break out into a more general readership.How can we encourage a wider audience to read poetry like this? There are lots of poetry readings and literature festivals all over the place.There are poems on the underground and poems on the radio, and all these things make poetry more accessible to a wider audience.A hugely gifted poet, her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written for stage and television.Her novels have been widely praised, and she was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006., is published by Bloodaxe, a powerhouse in the poetry world.What’s really fantastic about this anthology is the range of poets from all over the world and the way it’s organised thematically.I think that within the poetry world, everybody has heard of everybody else.But that world is quite specific and it takes quite a lot to break out of that.But our problem is still in whose poetry becomes accessible, so that’s what needs to be changed. I worked for the publishers who published her and she stayed with me for a week when she came over for a feminist book fair in 1983. A lot of people were scared of her, but I wasn’t, even though she was very outspoken. She has a poem called ‘Harriet’: ‘Harriet, Harriet, what do we call ourselves now our mother has gone?Another book I’m going to talk about is , which has 80 black British poets in the anthology. Alice Oswald is unique and has a very natural and different voice. The poems are unified and I really like single collections where there’s some sort of connection rather than 40 disparate poems. I think it’s the most achieved of all of her poetry collections, and it’s a book I’ve had throughout my life. I loved the way she wrote and talked about silence and the way she used the Dahomey woman and African mythology in her poetry. ’ There are all sorts of lines that are really involved and she’s got a poem about being 14.