Book review: The Long Take, by Robin Robertson
In the past few weeks, the poetry world has been going through one of its cyclical fits of the conniptions. In the estimable PN Review, the poet and critic Rebecca Watts launched an eloquent broadside against the best-selling and fashionable work of such poets as Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur. It was yet another iteration of a debate – or standoff – that has been going on in poetry for about 300 years. There is – or ought to be – an ongoing interplay between the blatant and the ornate, the polemical and the elusive, the outspokenness of Ginsberg, McGough and Lochhead and the riddling, askance work of Lowell, Moore and Prynne. I sighed when I saw it rearing up against a backdrop of diminishing readership, even though, to be frank, and in a personal capacity, I have always been on the side of the complicated. It is feasible to understand style and technique and yet critique the results.