Wednesday, November 05, 2014

PBS lists getting boring

Here's the Poetry Book Society list for Spring 2015 (as Neil Astley posted it on Facebook):

Sean O’Brien – The Beautiful Librarians (Picador)
Sujata Bhatt – Poppies in Translation (Carcanet)
Sean Borodale – Human Work (Jonathan Cape)
Paul Muldoon – Knowing (Faber)
Rebecca Perry – Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe)

I am grateful to the PBS for having been my way in to the contemporary UK poetry scene (I knew next to nothing about it when I first signed up for PBS in 1996). And I have frequently defended the value of the PBS in conversation with critics of its picks.

But it's gone on long enough that it is getting pretty discouraging (and simply boring, really) to see these five publishers (Picador, Carcanet, Cape, Faber, Bloodaxe) repeatedly dominating the Choice and Recommendation lists.

If there were an American version of PBS, the five books chosen every quarter would surely not be as dominated by FSG, Norton, Knopf, Houghton Mifflin, and Copper Canyon.

And why does O'Brien get so many Choices? This is his third. I know it's just my taste that I think he's a rather dull poet—but he's no Don Paterson (two Choices), no Edwin Morgan (one Choice), no Les Murray (two choices), no Anne Carson (one Choice).

List of PBS Choices through Spring 2014 is here.

No comments: