Forward into the poetry season: books, book fairs, prize events, and Schlock!

September 22, 2015

The air is cold. The nights are dark. This week is the beginning of term in my Advanced Poetry workshop. And the events are beginning to arrive thick and fast. Someone said something to me the other day about something happening ‘in the new year’. THAT’S how serious it’s getting. In short, there’s plenty to […]

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Some poems by Eloise Robinson

August 20, 2015

Some years ago now I came across a little mystery, by accident.  Reading an essay by Guy Davenport, I found a story which moved me so much I wrote my Remembrance Day post about it. It involved a young woman called Eloise Robinson – seen in the story reciting poetry to the troops during the First […]

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August 20, 2015

Yesterday in Gipsy Hill. Scrubby little flowers, next to an ordinary suburban driveway, suddenly seen in all their unexpectedness, and the surprise of how their delicate colours. It’s a thing that didn’t need to happen. Then a little kid on the number 3 bus, singing a little song, over and over while his mum intermittently tried to tell him […]

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William Morris in the Machine Age

August 5, 2015

I had an unexpected last-minute weekend on my own: how to fill it? As always, so much going on (in a strange, nothing way), and to worry about, that it felt odd… But it had been a long week. So the first thing I did was go to Walthamstow to pick up a clapped-out old Imperial Good Companion typewriter that I’d […]

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The Forward Prize shortlists: Excelsior!

June 8, 2015

There is a lot to like about the shortlists for this year’s three Forward Prizes. Announced today, they look like this: Forward Prize for Best Collection Ciaran Carson, From Elsewhere (The Gallery Press) Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, The Boys of Bluehill (The Gallery Press) Paul Muldoon, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (Faber & Faber) Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An […]

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Life is a vale of tears, and other news

June 3, 2015

It’s been a very serious year so far, here in Baroque Mansions. I’m currently suffering from borderline panic or at least anxiety disorder and trying to get myself together while keeping fingers and toes crossed. One of the funniest things that has happened in our family (like, ever) took the form of a Facebook update […]

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“We are all made of dust. But it is stardust.”

May 18, 2015

 This post about the ‘Mozart of Paintings’  is presented exactly as it arrived in my inbox. Above: his ‘Magic Flute’ period Contemporary Italian artist Ottavio Fabbri is a visionary, painter, sculptor, director and conceptual artist today announces his art work will be available for private viewings in UK, with exhibitions planned after the summer. Known […]

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‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!’

May 1, 2015

 You remember that 1970s movie, ‘Network’ – it was mainly famous for the catchphrase above, which seemed to strike a chord in disgruntled post-Watergate America. Peter Finch gave a great performance as Howard Beale, a newsreader who threatens to kill himself on air because he’s ‘run out of bullshit’. Well, last Saturday a pair of friends staged a […]

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