American Hybrid

On the topic of American poetry, the latest big anthology from across the Atlantic is 'American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry', edited by Cole Swensen and David St. John.

The editors have identified a new trend in American poetry away from the long-acknowledged division between the so-called traditional and experimental.

In its place, they claim, a hybrid poetry has evolved that blends trends from accessible lyricism to linguistic exploration.

My feeling is that this book - or at least this development - will be highly influential over here as still-existing divisions dissolve and more poets recognise the possibilities of drawing from both traditions.

Of course many poets have already arrived at a synthesis of their own. John Burnside comes to mind, as do Carrie Etter and Lavinia Greenlaw. The rest of British poetry will, I think, eventually catch up.

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