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‘I didn’t know exactly what it meant in the sense of its paraphrasable content, but its potency was unignorable. Imagine if one could write like this!’
‘With its title by an Irishman and its split focus between a pre-colonial West African people and culture, and a British colonial administrator; it was, when I read it, the best thing I had ever read.’
Should poetry be about something — other than itself? asks John Greening, considering some famous examples of works that have defied this question, as well as others which have dared to be topical, even at the risk of becoming irrelevant over time.