Poetry is more than self help

selfThomond4460.jpg Daisy Goodwin is the Gillian McKeith of poetry. Using the same insouciance with which the skinny Scot might recommend some of her own-brand spirulina for hard poos, Goodwin, the self-proclaimed online Poetry Doctor, will suggest a spot of Shakespeare if you "feel stressed out!" from shagging your secretary. With 62 comments and counting,Diane Shipley's post last week on the value of self-help books generated some seriously strong sentiments. Steady the keyboards, cubs: there's a much worthier target for your vitriol. Badly written bunkum is literary genius compared to that ugly Elastoplast for the soul, the self-help poetry anthology.

Poor old Daisy. Goodwin-bashing is a seasoned sport (I'd recommendAndrew O'Hagan's excellent London Review of Books article Flossing to get the juices going), but there's something undeniably distressing aboutthose pastel-hued pocket volumes with their alarmist titles promising to keep us sane, save our life and get us through the day, as if we're a bunch of hyperventilating menopausal women who need a shot of Auden every hour to help us (Wendy) cope.

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