Sunday, 21 October 2012
At the age of just five, Arlo Giovanni Butler (A.G., as his friends call him) is the youngest of the New Next Generation Poets. Butler won the National Poetry Competition while many of his contemporaries were still struggling with phonemes and secured a publisher for his first collection before finishing prep school.
After graduating from UEA at the age of eight, he relocated to East London where he established the capital's premier spoken word club night which attracts edgy outsiders, hip mainstreamers and not a few bebrogued hangers-on who, when their friends aren't looking, will passionately explain that poetry is cool because it is 'free from the logic of capital'. Comparisons with the New York School of poets aren't entirely undeserved since, in the words of another commentator, 'they sometimes seem only interested in each other.'
Once active online, Butler explains he stopped engaging with social networking systems after winning the T.S.Eliot prize for his second collection because his life was becoming 'info-saturated'. He hopes, however, that fans of his work will tolerate his recent excursus into musical composition, working in collaboration with the American minimalist maestro Steve Reich whose post-tonal style Butler says he fell in love with the first time he heard it inside his mother's womb.
Ladbrokes has given the young wordsmith odds of 10/1 to win the Nobel prize for literature before his twenty-first birthday. His third collection is due out from Faber on Monday.