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The Crisis in Poetry Publishing [UK]:
Matthew Hollis: Here’s a picture. Poetry has never been so rigorous and diverse, nor has its audience been so numerous and engaged. This is an age in which we have seen poets move onto the television and popular radio like never before; where residencies have sprung up on trains, supermarkets, prisons, zoos; where sales, sponsorship, prize-money are soaring; where poets are becoming personalized, and packaged. This is the age of tags and accolades: ‘the new rock n roll’, the New Generation, National Poetry Day, The Nations Favourite, Poems on the Underground. It is a decade that has witnessed four Nobel Prizes and four Whitbreads to poetry; that has seen poetry bestsellers like Birthday Letters and Beowulf; that has welcomed a new Laureate and a heightened interested in his public role.

Faber, Cape, Carcanet, and the newly-founded Picador list are publishing as many poetry books as ever they did; Bloodaxe still put out thirty titles a year. The Poetry Library – did you know this? – receive 1000 poetry ISBNs a year, and the average first collection still outsells the average first novel. The Poetry Book Society sports 2500 members; Christina will, I’m sure, say something about the relative health of the Poetry Society. This doesn’t sound like a crisis to me: so what do we mean by the term?

If we are to talk of crisis in publishing, I think it’s important to be clear about our concepts. For there is not one, single poetry market of which we can take the temperature – it’s more segmented than that ...
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