The Book Club: John Carey on a history of poetry


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This week's Book Club podcast features one of the great wise men of the literary world: Professor John Carey - emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford, author of authoritative books on Milton, Donne and Dickens as well as the subject-transforming broadside The Intellectuals and the Masses. (He's also lead book reviewer for a publication we shall call only the S****y T***s, but we pass over that.) In his new book, A Little History of Poetry, he sweeps us with his usual elan from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the backyard of Les Murray. I asked him (among other things) what constitutes poetry, why 'Goosey Goosey Gander' has it all, what he discovered in his researches, and why the so-called New Criticism got old.
The Book Club is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes here.

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