Magazine article School Librarian

Woolf, Karen McCarthy (Ed.): Ten: Poets of the New Generation

Magazine article School Librarian

Woolf, Karen McCarthy (Ed.): Ten: Poets of the New Generation

Article excerpt

Woolf, Karen McCarthy (ed.)

Ten: Poets of the New Generation

Bloodaxe Books, 2017, pp160, 9.95 [pounds sterling]

978 1 78037 382 9

Bloodaxe's superb presentation turns an anthology of work by modern poets into a primer for the work of the new generation it represents. Each poet is introduced by a photograph, a potted biography and a critical appreciation written by a mentor, thus preparing the reader for the selection of work to follow. The collection focuses on ten poets described variously as diverse, black, Black and Asian, or BAME: anything, in other words, but white, and that is the point. This is the third collection which seeks to promote the work of poets from ethnic minorities, and the project has had considerable success, judging by the impressive lists of achievements by those who have been featured in the series, including prestigious literary awards, commissions with such as the BBC and various Arts Councils, and work featured on albums by Beyonce. The press release tells us that, since the publication of the first of these anthologies, the number of minority poets published by major presses in the UK has risen from less than 1% to 14%.

The poets in this anthology are all born and/or live in Britain, but claim a variety of heritages, from Ghana and Nigeria to China and Argentina. Britain, however, does not emerge too well from these pages: it is heard in the bigoted voices of those in Will Harris's 'Self Portrait' who query the apparent disparity between his appearance and his name, and in Yomi Sode's blistering 'The Exhibition', with its shaming examples of racist attitudes from the woman who, 'in her excitement. …

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