It’s murder out bear: what’s up in the woods today

murder bear

Talk about services to poetry! The photographs have been coming out from last night’s royal reception for assorted poets at Buckingham Palace (yes, they really did go down! (Not sure about Alice…) – and some of them, like the Queen looking genuinely thrilled to bits to meet Ian McMillan, and a resplendent Michael Horovitz in the forecourt beforehand, have been a complete joy to see. There s news of beautiful luminous Rembrandts – just hanging there, so impossible to imagine that in one way – and great readings, and all the Laureates of the UK together, and witticisms of the Duke of Edinburgh that broke the ice and de-sfuffified the occasion. It sounds like he and the Queen liked mixing with the poets, and that is a credit to all of us, even the republicans who went along for the craic.

But just as strong in the ‘joy’ news of the day, THIS has also arrived. It is no less of a thrill. It’s good to see the Donut flag flying again, and over a book as perfectly beautiful, and beautifully perfect, as we’ve come to expect. It might even be a year since Donut decamped to the wilds of Devon, and it’s been missed. It’s good to have this new book out.

And what a book! I’m not sure how WN Herbert does it. I’ve not yet quite got to grips with his doubled-&-remixed tour de force, ‘Omnesia’, which only came out (from Bloodaxe) – oh, well, maybe it was a year ago. But it was two really quite large book of very demanding poetry! The man’s a dynamo. Or a murder bear.

I’m particularly looking forward to reading ‘Murdered Sonnet’, ‘Hendecakillabics for the Restive Season’, and ‘Montaigne and the Three Murder Bears’.

Also today, congratulations are due to David Clarke, whose Gaud – published by Flarestack –  last night won the Michael Marks award for best pamphlet;  and the several winners of  the Stephen Spender prize for translation.

And now, off to the Seamus Heaney tribute event at the Southbank. Another gathering of the poetry clanthis one democratically ticketed. I’ve put on my bright green nail polish for the occasion (on which basis, the nail art should be fun for the Murder Bear launch next week)…

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