Private: Scottish poetry developments

A Scottish politician proposed that Scotland’s poet laureate be elected each year, “either by members of the ‘poetry community’ or in a wider vote across Scotland.” George Kerevan evaluates the proposal:

One instantly thinks of the BBC organising yet another of those “the nation chooses” programmes, with assorted celebrities championing their favourite poet, then viewers choosing the winner by phone and text message, in the same way that we voted Lord of the Rings as (supposedly) our Big Read.

The problem with this approach is not that it wouldn’t be popular. Rather, the difficulty with such a populist approach is that it gives the most recent and ephemeral work a distinct advantage; ie, marketing wins out over quality.

In other Scottish poetry news, poet Don Paterson has won the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry for the second time in six years. Previous winners include Les Murray, Ted Hughes and Alice Oswald.