After taking part in the judging of the Forward Prize in 2014, Jeremy Paxman* made some controversial comments about the state of poetry. Half jokingly, he suggested an “inquisition, in which poets would be called to account for their poetry and appear before a panel of ordinary people to explain why they chose to write about the particular subject they wrote about, and why they chose the particular form and language, idiom, the rest of it.”
So that’s what we’re doing.
The Poetry Inquisition will be a night of poetry held to account. Every poet who reads – both open mic guests and featured poets – will face probing questions from the audience, and a good-natured but merciless Newsnight-style grilling by a panel of interrogators. The panel will change week to week but, as specified by Paxman, will always contain at least one “ordinary” person.
After thirteen very successful Poetry Inquisitions at Small White Elephant in Peckham Rye – grilling such excellent (and impressively game) poets as Jack Underwood, Kirsten Irving, John Clegg, Sarah Howe and Hannah Lowe, along with numerous great poets from the floor – we’ve hit the road.
The next Inquisition will be on Wednesday 26 October at the Koppel Project on Baker St. See here for more info, and follow us on Facebook/Twitter to see updates about what we’re up to and the brilliant poets we have lined up for future events!
*It should be stressed, this event is in no way attached to – nor has it been endorsed by – Jeremy Paxman. It is merely inspired by his comments. It is also in no way related to his one-man show, ‘Paxo’, or the excellent sage and onion stuffing of that name.