Glyn Maxwell … refreshingly clear. Photograph: David Levene
"This," Glyn Maxwell writes on the first page of his new book, "is a book for anyone." This is, to say the least, a dubious claim. Given that the market for poetry in Britain is vanishingly small, the market for books about poetry is ... well, suffice to say that Oberon Books are to be congratulated on putting this out, because it really is a tremendously good book, and should be read by anyone who writes poetry and anyone who's interested in how and why poetry is written.
by Glyn Maxwell
Or anyone who's interested in what poetry is. What is it about this form with its short, jagged-edged lines, its patterning of words and sounds? What makes it different from chopped-up prose? On this, as on much else, Maxwell is brisk and forthright: if you're going to write poetry, "line-break is all you've got, and if you don't master line-break – the border between poetry and prose – then you don't know there is a border. And there is a border. (A prose poem is prose done by a poet.)"