I ask for a couple of reasons. One is a passing remark by UK poet Dick Jones, who recently commented on this blog in response to a whining post on poetry reviewing in the US, one of a few resulting in part from Kent Johnson on poetry reviewing. Dick said: “Not true, by and large, within the UK poetry community. Whilst oblique strategies of critique might be employed – damning with faint praise, for example – flame wars are frequent.” Which made me think.
Then there are the online chapbook reviews accompanying the latest edition of the UK poetry review/publishing journal Sphinx. If you skim through, you’ll see that a good number of these reviews quite matter-of-factly highlight negative aspects of the work they are reviewing as well as positive aspects. This one by Liz Bassett, this one by Helena Nelson, or this one by Rob Mackenzie, for example. Which doesn’t seem to be at all how we do it in the US as a rule.
Rob (one of a handful of UK poets who also frequent the US poetry blogosphere) has a post on the Magma poetry blog today recapping the recent US blogosphere discussion on poetry reviewing and seeking comment from Magma readers. I look forward to seeing what our UK counterparts have to say on the topic.
Maybe they’ll give us some ideas…?
Late update: Because I just saw this at Todd Swift’s Eyewear. Not about reviewing, but pertinent, I think.
Do American and British poetry ignore each other?
And if they do, is that good or bad?