Campaign in Poetry

That’s the title of an Emma Press anthology, which arrived on my doormat this morning. I’ve been waiting for this since December, when a friend passed on to me the enticing blurb – “Emma Press goes political”. They were planning two volumes, one on the history of voting, one on the current campaign. The plan was to refute Jeremy Paxman’s sense that contemporary poetry didn’t really engage with the real world.

I doubt he’ll change his mind because of this. It’s one thin volume (£7.50 for thirty pages of poems), And it only mentions three politicians – Alex Salmond, Margaret Thatcher and Barack Obama. Political parties? Oh, yes, the SNP get a mention, but nobody else. When it actually comes to the crunch, of engaging with the business of power in action, most poets don’t want to know.