When I was less tall, I wrote poems. To the exclusion of much else, as I remember. In Junior School, whenever we were asked to do a piece of 'Creative Writing' (as opposed to...?), I asked if I could write a poem instead of the usual prose. Eventually, Miss Hards demanded that I actually produced something without line breaks, presumably to prove that I could.
Somehow the habit oozed away. I suspect this was something to do with my studying English literature at an advanced level; I was seized by the performance bug, and wrote to be heard not read. The criteria by which I judged my own stuff was set by the Liverpool Poets and the Beats, Cooper Clarke and Zephaniah and Joolz. I remember arguing that Gerard Manley Hopkins is a better poet than Tennyson, simply because his words have a better mouthfeel, like good wine or chocolate. In fact, I still believe that; in vain, as you might imagine. I didn't stop liking poems, but I convinced myself that I had a blind spot as to what 'good' poetry might be. As far as I remember, when I came to do my final exams, I tried my best to avoid anything with a hint of tum-ti-tum. By which point, I'd stopped writing the stuff as well.
So you might expect me to be a wee bit sniffy over the Guardian's attempt to define the seven of the greatest poets of the 20th century. Presumably they mean British poets, although two of them (Eliot, Plath) weren't born British, and two others (Auden, Heaney) elected to renounce Britishness. That quibble aside, I can't see that I'd have done it very differently; maybe to bring in Dylan Thomas at the expense of Sassoon. But I can't believe that anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of the subject would disagree too violently with the selection.
The question is whether this is necessarily good for poetry. The Observer's list of the world's 50 most powerful blogs seems to me utterly wrongheaded, in both content and concept, and apparently I'm not alone. But at least a real debate is provoked (which was presumably the real point); in the Eng Lit canon, debate isn't so much stifled, as redundant.
(Interesting response from Frances Leviston here.)