I have been reflecting, in the pages of the Evening Standard, on 'modern' poetry.
Thinking afresh about the situation of modern poetry on the map of modern literature, I doubt a little if modern poetry is on the map at all! Thousands of people will argue for and against the value of a modern novel, but only tens of people will argue, even mildly, for and against the merits of modern poetry. To be 'up-to-date' on modern novels is deemed to be important; nobody, however, is going to worry himself about not being up-to-date concerning modern poetry.
The reason, in my opinion, is that modern poetry has been revolutionary. The new poets have grown absolutely sick of the old material, and their impatient verve chafed under the old forms. So the new poets scrapped the old material, and stretched the old forms till they snapped like elastic bands. That, roughly, was the revolution. The British public is not partial to revolutions. It believes that your revolutionary is most effectively dealt with by leaving him alone!
T.S. Eliot is arguably the most influential of the 'modern' poets, though I have never been able to understand why. I have read I don't know how many times his celebrated poem, The Waste Land, at the mention of which every younger poet bows the head in awe, and I simply cannot see its beauty. I don't say it has no beauty: I say merely that I can't see its beauty. I once asked Eliot whether his explanatory notes to The Waste Land were not a pulling of the public leg? I seriously thought they were. He seriously assured me that they were not. I bowed the head!