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“People are frightened of the verse. After ‘Laureate’s block’” – his 1999 broadside against the poet laureateship – “the cultural establishment didn’t care for me.” Certainly the critics turned against him, panning the collection called Laureate’s block in 2000. He looks mildly surprised when I tell him the notices were bad. “I don’t give a fuck about that,” he says. “If I was worried about reviews I wouldn’t do what I’m doing.” Critics argued he had become too direct; that his poems gave up their meanings too easily. “What’s wrong with directness?” he counters. “It is always better to write for the whole of society than for the poetry-reading public. But I can do the other thing as well. I can do dense as well as anyone.” Tony Harrison • Guardian


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The Page is edited by John McAuliffe, Vincenz Serrano and, since September 2013, Evan Jones at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. It was founded in October 2004 by Andrew Johnston, who edited it until October 2009.
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