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Although it had its moments, much of the BBC's poetry season was a lesson in why celebrities shouldn't "do" literature

By David Herman   July 2009

Here’s a radical suggestion for the BBC’s next poetry season. How about making some programmes about poetry? Not poets’ unhappy marriages or their sex lives, but actually having someone who knows and cares about poetry talking about language and verse.

The worst offender of the recent BBC poetry season—which ran from 20th May to 13th June on BBC Two and Four, as well as on Radio 3 and Radio 4—was, predictably enough, the historian Simon Schama. It is now a decade since his book on Rembrandt and 20 years since Citizens, his great history of the French revolution, which made…

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