Bono’s ‘poem’ was an insult to the craft of verse

Poet’, said Robert Frost, ‘is a praise-word’. So it is. That explains in part the unabashed delight with which Colm Tóibín, speaking in our current Book Club podcast, talks about publishing his fine first poetry collection Vinegar Hill – decades of international acclaim as a novelist notwithstanding. Poetry is a high-status artform, perhaps the highest. Yet unlike most other artforms, very many people seem to think of it as something that anyone can do. You wouldn’t expect to be able to write a symphony, or build a suspension bridge, or win Wimbledon, without many years of apprenticeship and intimate attention to the work of those who have excelled in those