Margaret Atwood Backlash/Coach House Books/Philip Larkin – Poetry News Roundup January 18th

In today’s poetry news roundup we take a look at the backlash caused by comments from the poet Margaret Atwood. We also look into an article on Coach House Books in Toronto, and finally, we look into the newly revealed correspondence from Philip Larkin.

Poet Faces Backlash over #MeToo Remarks

Margaret Atwood, the Canadian Poet and Novelist who is probably best known for her novel “The Handmaids Tale” has sparked a storm on Twitter following the publication of a provocative column she penned for the Globe and Mail newspaper. In the article she questioned the impact of the #MeToo movement, referring to it as a product of a legal system that has become broken.

Atwood also took the opportunity to defend the support that she had offered to a fellow male writer who was accused of sexual harassment in 2016.

Together with a number of other prominent Canadian writers, Atwood lent her support to the case of Steven Galloway, who faced with accusations of sexual harassment and bullying in 2015, was denied the right to due process by his employer the University of British Columbia. A number of the other authors have since withdrawn their support for Galloway.

Atwood expressed her concerns that whilst the movement has done much to uncover the murky goings on there is a good chance that it will go too far. She has since become silent on social media sites.

Poetry “On Hiatus” At Coach House Books

Coach House Books the independent Toronto press have confirmed that they have placed their prestigious poetry program “on hiatus”. No more poetry submissions will be accepted by them in the near future.

They have stated that the reason for this announcement is “Poetry is changing, and the way people read is changing, We live in a Twitter world now — what does that mean for poetry?” They are anxious to assure people that the reason behind heir decision is not a financial one.

There are currently 6 poetry titles in the pipeline that are due to be published this year and these will still go ahead, as will the further 6 titles that have been planned for 2019.

Letters from Philip Larkin Show Close Relationship with Mother

Over the course of his lifetime Philip Larkin wrote a huge number of letters, for a period of 35 years he wrote to his mother twice a week. In these letters which have recently been studied by Philip Pullen as part of his research for a book “Writers and Their Mothers”. In these letters Larkin and his mother, Eva, exchanged information about their daily lives in minute detail.

Larkin was terrified of the commitment of marriage, instead he lives his life through a number of relationships with the women who became the muses for his work. The letters reveal that the reason for the poet’s views may have been down to the warning given to him from his mother about the disadvantages of marriage.

Writers and Their Mothers is due to be published on 1st March this year, just before Mother’s Day

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