9 January 2017

The Poetry World in 2017 - Some Predictions

Posted by John Clegg

  • Last year’s merger of Carcanet and Anvil was just the beginning; 2017 will be a Year of Consolidation. Picador and Cape will merge into a single terrifying conglomeration, Capador. Chatto & Windus will finally settle their differences and relaunch as Winto. Capador’s business model will shift focus from poetry to headache pills; Winto will market breath mints for supermarket POS displays.
  • ‘Microanthologies’ will become the newest trend in poetry publishing. These up-to-the-minute volumes will be approximately the size of a Capador headache pill, and retail between £1.50 and £2.85.
  • Michel Houellebecq will release a volume of poetry in January. Danny Welbeck will release a volume of poetry in February. Wellman Vitamin Supplements will sponsor a poetry prize in March.
  • Average line length will continue to increase. The ‘slung tetrameter’ – two sections of four stresses, surrounding a central section of dummy syllables – will be for poetry what the Dirty Burger was for casual dining in 2016.
  • The mergers will continue. Faber will merge with Faber to become Faber2. Bloodaxe will merge with Arc to form metal supergroup Blood Ark, whose much-anticipated Sunday night headline set at Download Festival will be cancelled due to bad weather. Michael Symmons Roberts will merge with Robin Robertson to form Michael Symmons Robertson.
  • In October, Capador Headache Pills will be removed from the market following a BBC Panorama documentary. Breakaway remnants of the old Cape team will attempt a second merger with Faber2 (to market ‘Fape’, an e-cigarette flavoured with laudanum), but this will fall through when it is disclosed that Editor-in-Chief Don Paterson has signed his name as ‘Willie Nubbins’ on the articles of incorporation.
  • Star damage will continue to be a problem in the home and elsewhere. Blue slides will remain at rest. There will be no answer from the rational shore.
  • Subject-matter categories likely to see the most growth, according to Nielsen PoetryScan, include hazelnuts, Beaker people, self-reflexiveness, crocuses or croci, relationships, Spring, the moon. Subject-matter categories likely to weaken in 2017 include bees, Autumn, poems about other poets, poems which end with light breezes softly becoming rain, and Tube etiquette.
  • As 2017 is an odd-numbered year, Louis MacNeice will be removed from his cryogenic status pod for six hours in late November. As always, he will be led to a featureless chamber containing a desk, a chair, a pen and paper, but given no instructions. His productions in 2012 and 2015 were notably garbled and inane; there are high hopes that 2017 will be the year which sees him recover some of the poise and charm he achieved in The Burning Perch (1963).
  • On December 30th, all poetry mergers will be undone following a special Act of Parliament. Publishers and editors will return to their old jobs on New Year's Day 2018 with an eerie sense of waking from a coma dream. A warehouse key fob will be misplaced, an address forgotten, and the stockpile of Winto Breath Mints will gradually dissolve, until all that remains is the scent of wintergreen and spearmint suspended gently over the moors, a light breeze, softly becoming rain.