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Children of The New Poetry

Children of The New Poetry

(p.199) Chapter Sixteen Children of The New Poetry
The Alvarez Generation
William Wootten
Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that the offsprings of The New Poetry have neither the nerve nor nous to have both the fierce partiality and the representativeness of Alvarez. Its Penguin successor, Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion's Penguin Book of Contemporary British Verse, was ultimately a consolidation of a dominant taste more than an argument for a fresh one. The oft-stated complaint about the younger poets championed in their book is that their work was merely a continuation of the Movement by flashier device, but in truth a number of them are better seen as children of The New Poetry. Bloodaxe, a specialist poetry house, has for the last two decades taken upon itself to publish generation-defining anthologies. Its own The New Poetry borrowed Alvarez's title, if not his sense of purpose, but drew heavily on the format and ethos of Edward Lucie-Smith, if not his evaluative sense. The editors assembled work which often showed the influence of Paul Muldoon as well as the New York Poets, whose sense of play, even of fun, is much more clearly at odds with the spirits of Alvarez and of Conquest than are the influences of the Motion/Morison book.

Keywords:   poems, poetry, A. Alvarez, Penguin Book of Contemporary British Verse, Penguin, Bloodaxe, anthologies

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