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Poetry lecture

On Tuesday 21 January academic Richard Jacobs addressed sixth form pupils studying English Literature on the English poetry canon. In barely an hour he took the audience through 400 years of poetry, showing how poetry through the ages has been influenced by the separate challenges to authority linked to the Reformation, the French Revolution and the aftermath of the First World War.

Richard, who has published one of the definitive books on the English canon, A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading, gave a fascinating insight into how poetry has been marginalised from the heady days when George Herbert sold the equivalent of almost one million copies of his poetry collection The Temple to today when a leading poet like Geoffrey Hill will barely sell 500 copies of his most recent collection.