11 July 2019, The Tablet

Speed reading: Michael Glover discovers political poetry that works


 

The subject matter of poetry is seldom headline-grabbing. If a poem is news at all, it is “news that stays news”, in the gnomic words of Ezra Pound. What is more, poetry that messes with politics rarely convinces. Why? Because political poetry generally knows what it is going to say even before the poem is written – and that’s a bad recipe for a good poem.

And yet, just occasionally, there is a remarkable exception to this rule of thumb. Richard Osmond was caught up in the murderous London Bridge attacks of 3 June 2017. He and his friends were confined in the basement of a bar for hours on end, and barked at by nervy policemen.

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