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Death of the reader

So why are the literate classes blind to modern poetry?

By Ruth Padel   January 2002

British poetry is currently in a rich, interesting state. The one thing wrong with it is that it is not being read. Or not by the people you would think are its natural audience: the culture-minded middle classes. Most people who “did English” at college, or go to plays and Vermeer exhibitions, do not open a book of modern poems from one year to the next. You would think that enjoying contemporary poetry is part of a full cultural life. Increasingly, since the 1960s, it hasn’t been. The media, who use “poetry” as a metaphor for anything from Tiger Woods’…

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