Why don’t we truly value poetry?

Poetry and Play Book Reviews

Yet again, a major literary prize has been won by a book of verse, and the genre has rarely been more popular. So why does it feel as if poetry is losing its way, asks Philip Hensher.

Well versed: Jo Shapcott celebrates her triumph at the Costa Book Award in London on Tuesday. It was the second year running that the prize was won by a poet 

Well versed: Jo Shapcott celebrates her triumph at the Costa Book Award in London on Tuesday. It was the second year running that the prize was won by a poet Photo: PA
8:44PM GMT 26 Jan 201164 Comments 

For the second year running, the general Costa Book Award has been won by a poet. The awards choose individual winners from five categories – a novel, a first novel, a work of biography, a volume of poetry, and a children’s book. Subsequently, the winners are pitched against each other and an overall winner is awarded £35,000. Last year, the overall winner was the poet Christopher Reid; this year, Jo Shapcott’s volume of verse, Of Mutability, took the prize against hot competition from Edmund de Waal‘s memoir, The Hare With Amber Eyes.

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