Paxman, poets, and the ‘pellety nest’

June 2, 2014

Well, there I was, sitting on a press release that clearly says ‘Embargoed until 23:00 June 2nd 2014′ -  ie tonight – when all of a sudden, Jeremy Paxman jumps in and (er) steals the story. The story was, well part of it anyway, YAYYY, Liz Berry’s book is shortlisted for the Forward Prize! But now, Jeremy Paxman […]

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‘My writing process’: a baroque stop on a blog tour

May 27, 2014

Okay, this is the first time in a long time that I’ve done something like this. But Anna Robinson invited me, and who was I to say no? It’s a Writing Process Blog Tour. Only this time, it’s not the blogger doing the touring, it’s the questions. If you go toAnna’s site, you can click backwards […]

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Fifty years and ten years

May 24, 2014

Two blog posts in under 24 hours! But you can see why. Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Lunch Poems, this potent little nugget of magic that maybe even sings a little louder  today than it did when it was published. Back in 1964, before Martin Luther King, before the hippies, before the Moon landing. What […]

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These fragments we have shored against our ruin

May 23, 2014

All day I’ve been pervaded by a sick-at-heart feeling as the Glasgow School of Art burns. I never studied there; I never even saw it in person. But I remember a history of architecture course I took aged 19 in my one year of uni, having just arrived in London, and the discovery of the […]

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The poems inside the poem

May 8, 2014

  This sad object you see above is the flipchart chart from my Tuesday night class last week. (Yes, I took a picture of it. We’re all sad now and it’s what I do instead of a selfie.) It was the start of term, and we’re doing lineation, and I decided it might be nice […]

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Wilde on trial: lynchpin day

April 26, 2014

Here’s a little story, made up of anniversaries, one of which (as you might have guessed) is today. In and amongst all the pressing matters, we take a moment to look back 120 years… On 18 October, 1894, a sad death: Francis Douglas, Lord Drumlanrig – the private secretary of the then Prime Minister, Archibald […]

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Poetry: the technique, the practice, the class

April 22, 2014

Here’s an idea. Next Tuesday, 29th April, is the first class of the new term. Just imagine! a dewy-fresh poetry class, dripping in the sunlight as blossoms and flowers burst forth in all the colours of the rainbow, while the birds warble away at their songs – what is that but POETRY?  ‘If poetry comes […]

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It’s springtime: write a poem.

April 2, 2014

Second April, so the fools have departed, thank God, with their fake headlines and their practical jokes that were never quite practical enough… One friend joked that he had had an amazing stroke of good luck and then had to spend the evening frantically letting everyone know it was only a jape, and feeling humbled […]

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