As May Day looms in Britain, so does May 6 - the national election, and, judging from last night's final leaders debate, the UK is facing either a hung parliament, or a weak Tory government. Sadly, the hapless PM, Gordon Brown, with his awkward grin and huge sense of purpose, has blundered once too often, and perhaps put Labour out of office for a decade (which might prove a godsend, as the austerity measures that are coming, to save Britain from a Greece-style collapse, will make any elected parties more Sheriff of Nottingham than Robin Hood). May in Britain is not yet summer - though, judging by the monsoon outside, it is the rainy season; this Bank Holiday is yet another very British let-down weather-wise - the last week was Clegg-sunny, and now, suddenly, it's cold, damp and grey again - no BBQ getaway just yet, then. The sense of inevitable boom and bust, shine and rain, and poetic class struggle - the dialectics of the place - seems confirmed by the latest news that arch-provocateur and original Brit Beat poet, Michael Horovitz will challenge elitist genius Geoffrey Hill for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford; suddenly, Britain has a contest between two older men who represent utterly different sides of the poetics spectrum, yet are both well-educated and impressive readers of their own work. Is there such a thing as a Hung Poetry Parliament?
There is surely such a thing as a poetic horn of plenty. In preparing this week of blogs featuring younger British poets (which ends tomorrow with a Welsh poet) I was conscious of the great challenge to be representative - Britain is Wales, and Scotland, as well as England - and beyond London are regions with many accomplished writers and poets, and key cultural hubs. One such place is Norwich - home to the University of East Anglia, the Norwich School of Art and Design, and important arts festivals, museums, cathedrals, schools and galleries. I sub-titled this post "The Norwich School" because each of the three young men I wish to bring to readers today has a link to this city, and it is in Norwich where they met, and, in one way or another, influenced each other, formed affiliations, and developed editorial projects together. Each is also very individually a poet in their own right, with their own trajectories and interests, but the sense of a connecting thread is strong enough to justify an omnibus feature today. I was glad to include all three of them on the Oxfam DVD, Asking A Shadow To Dance.