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British Next Generation Poet Talks About Prose Poetry

Next gen of British Poetry movement believes more in free verse, going beyond traditional forms\" said the winner of prestigious Eric Gregory award.

Published: 01st February 2016 02:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2016 02:32 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

KOLKATA: The next generation of British Poetry movement believes more in "free verse, going beyond traditional forms," said the winner of prestigious Eric Gregory award in 2005 for his first collection of prose poems 'The Solex Brothers.'

Luke Kennerd, the leading Next Generation poet of UK, is on a visit to the city organised by British Council.

"I like prose poetry. I like the form. I like mixing. I actually see a poem as showpiece which needs lots of engagement from the present age generations," Luke, whose 'The Harbour Beyond the Movie' made him the youngest poet ever to be nominated for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection told PTI.

About Next Generation Poetry movement, he said 20 poets are selected in UK and Ireland every 10 years from hundreds of poets.

"Once the poets are among the 20 front-ranking next generation group, they become more familiar names in the literary circuit of the country attending festivals and getting nominated to awards depending on the nature of their works.

"It (the new generation) has become sort of a popularity contest but in Britain, we the new age poets or others, have a really passionate audience who don't want to hear silent performances, a lot of people to come to hear and see a poet," he said.

"But it is a far smaller audience than fiction," he admits.

"You have to give the audience something. Something which captures the vision. You have to make them engaged. Sometimes silent then again boisterous. You have to carry them beyond the books. So in poetry festivals we do have music festivals and we turn performers," Luke, whose criticism had appeared in Poetry London and The Times Literary Supplement, explained.

"For instance in the Jaipur Literary Festival, where we attended this year, there was this Rajasthani poet whose words and phrases were instantly evoking laughter from the audience though we could not follow the dialect. We later got the translations of the lines and felt we did not miss much on the humour front," the leading poet said.

"In such performances, it is all about being funny about a serious subject and we all can connect despite language barriers. That is what poetry in present form is all about," he said.

About the New Generation poets, he said, "We all have something in common. To celebrate smallest personal materials in the form of poetry. ... All we have is a kind of vision which captures the variety of individual styles," Luke said.

"I quite like transliteration. You can tell as closely as possible," he said expressing how amazed he felt to be in company of poets in Bengal after north India being floored by their passion and imageries in lines.

"The English speaking audience and literary circle is amazing, make us feel at home," he said.

Luke, who loves the metaphysical school of British poetry, said his fifth collection of poetry, 'Cain', will be published in 2016 and his debut novel, 'The Transition' in 2017.

"I see fiction as an extension of my poetic endeavour."

Another Next Generation poet Melissa Lee-Houghton, who is making rounds to literary meets along with Luke, said she found the country, especially Kolkata, "vibrant, noisy absolutely incredible and enchanting".

Strongly reacting to the suggestion that women poets are more prone to emotional outpourings, Melissa, whose 'Beautiful Girls' was published in 2013 and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, said being emotional is a "subjective thing" and relevant to any poet.

"I believe from where I live, coming here is a purely emotional thing. There is nothing like being emotional for being a woman," she signed off.

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