Here's a letter of protest I wrote to the CBC, in response to their interviews with Don Domanski on the Sunday edition and on their web site's Poet of the Month. I hope it gets posted (well, it did). And for any of you out there who care enough, I encourage you to send letters too. They need waking up at the CBC, and I'm sure it will require more than one voice to do that!
I suppose I should begin by thanking you for giving some media exposure to poets. This, however, is to be expected of a public broadcaster. What I take you to task for is the lack of exposure given to poetry itself. Here, Don Domanski was interviewed for 20 minutes on the Sunday Edition, and not one poem of his was read! And again, on your “Poet of the Month” feature, several inches of space are given to a similar interview, and again, not one poem. This, unfortunately, is not atypical of the CBC nowadays. Do you remember the days when Robert Weaver paid the likes of Al Purdy or Irving Layton to read poems on the radio? That era is long gone. Unfortunately, a poet’s work is not always readily available “at a bookstore near you”.
I have written a missive like this before, and expect I will have to again. The solution is simple: poetry is sound-bite friendly, and a few extra inches on a web page cost nothing to get a sense of a poet’s actual writing, rather than just chatter about the importance of awards and sources of inspiration. But as long as the CBC is more dedicated to the culture of celebrity than culture per se, I’m afraid this simple criticism will fall on deaf ears.