"Stephen Fry has launched a scathing attack on the 'arse-dribble' of modern poets and revealed a private passion for writing his own verse.
In his new book, The Ode Less Travelled, a guide to writing poetry, Fry argues in favour of traditional form and metre.
He expresses admiration for WH Auden, Robert Browning and other dead poets, but condemns 'the condition of English-language poetics' today as 'tattered and tired'.
He goes on: 'Add a feeble-minded political correctness to the mix and it is a wonder that any considerable poetry at all has been written over the last 50 years. It is as if we have all been encouraged to believe that form is a kind of fascism, and that to acquire knowledge is to drive a jackboot into the face of those poor souls who are too incurious, dull-witted or idle to find out what poetry can be.'
These candid comments come in the month that National Poetry Day failed to capture the public imagination and prompted calls for 'an ambassador' to help give poets the same star status as leading novelists."
Harold Pinter has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. I wonder what Stephen Fry would make of this poem of Pinter's:
God Bless America
Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.
The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune.
The riders have whips which cut.
Your head rolls onto the sand
Your head is a pool in the dirt
Your head is a stain in the dust
Your eyes have gone out and your nose
Sniffs only the pong of the dead
And all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.
Harold Pinter January 2003