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Is Jeremy Paxman right about new poetry's inaccessibility?


'Poets now seem to be talking to other poets... [not] people as a whole,' said the outgoing Newsnight presenter and Forward prize judge. Really? Help us compile examples of poems in film, TV, radio or any other pop-culture media and share your personal experiences of poetry in daily life

Judging the Forward prize for poetry must have been a perplexing experience for Jeremy Paxman: he has suggested the need for an "inquisition" in which "poets [would be] called to account for their poetry", and explain to their audience why they chose their subject and form. Paxman found "a whole pile of really good poems", but he wished that contemporary poetry "would raise its game a little bit, raise its sights", and "aim to engage with ordinary people much more".

Classic poetry has a definite place in popular culture, living on in readings, weddings and funerals. But as Jeremy Noel-Tod, editor of the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, pointed out: "Frank O'Hara was once patronised as a niche poet of the New York art scene. Fifty years later, he's being recited by Don Draper on Mad Men and is one of the most influential voices around." The outsider can move into the mainstream: here's Don reading from Meditations in an Emergency, on season 2 of the popular American TV series.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;

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