Opening Address, English Conference, Macquarie University
Probably I have something of a reputation for criticising the present methods of teaching poetry in schools and even universities, and maybe this is why you have done me the honour of asking me to open this Conference, for which I thank you. It is often useful to have a conference start off on a provocative note, if only so that later speakers can voice their own disagreement with the opening speaker. So it seems worthwhile to set out as clearly as I can my own views on what happens to poetry when it is treated as a subject to be taught; but also I want to make it clear that I am not blaming teachers or lecturers for the damage that I think is sometimes done to poetry in the process. Rather, I think the source of it lies in our present philosophy of language and our views on art.
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