Thursday, September 04, 2008

Banning Books Because of Poetry

In today's Guardian is an article about Britain's exam board and their request that schools destroy an anthology with a poem containing a reference to knives. Here is an excerpt.

Britain's biggest exam board has been accused of censorship after it removed a poem containing references to knife crime from the GCSE syllabus.

Officials at the AQA board said their request that schools destroy the anthology containing the Carol Ann Duffy poem Education for Leisure had been triggered by concerns in two schools about references to knives. A spokeswoman confirmed the decision had been made in the context of the current spate of knife-related murders.

But poets yesterday condemned the move, saying such "censorship" fundamentally missed the point of the poem, which they said could help children debate the causes of street violence.

You can read the rest of the story and the poem in question in the article Top Exam Board Asks Schools to Destroy Book Containing Knife Poem. I particularly liked Michael Rosen's response.

Michael Rosen, the children's laureate, said: "By this same logic we would be banning Romeo and Juliet. That's about a group of sexually attractive males strutting round the streets, getting off with girls and stabbing each other.

Go now and read it.


  1. I think I'm in love with Michael Rosen.

  2. Like Kelly H, I too may be in love with Michael Rosen. That poem was glorious. I'd say I can't believe they wanted to cut it, except that I just saw a piece online about England banning the posters for the movie Wanted starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie because they are brandishing guns and looking sexy while doing so.

    It is a reminder that censorship is not a problem only here. Although when it comes down to it, we have it better than some countries (say, China? Myanmar?)