October! Half over already!

October 19, 2014

This autumn is really dragging us along like puppies on a lead, isn’t it? Here in Baroque Mansions we are all – me, my alter ego, my esteemed other, my kids, everybody – sort of inundated, in both good ways and puppy-on-a-lead ways. In between juggling bills, reluctantly updating web domains, and feverishly checking lottery […]

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Forward on National Poetry Day

October 2, 2014

Happy National Poetry Day! I’m heading down to the Southbank Centre in a little while to hear live poetry in the Clore Ballroom (in the Royal Festival Hall building), and then to not one but two events this evening. At 6pm, The Pity – four poets reading specially commissioned work on war. Steve Ely, whose […]

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Dannie Abse the infinite

September 28, 2014

  On Tuesday this year’s Forward Prize winners will be announced, and the entire auditorium will be in a hush of sorrow. There will be a hole where one of the judges was to have sat, and most of the people in the auditorium will be feeling bereft. A light has gone out. I use this […]

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Donaghy: ten years today

September 16, 2014

‘Don’t be afraid, old son, it’s only me…’ Today, 16 September, while the Scottish Referendum rages, the future once again seems uncertain – like it did for some of us this week ten years ago, when Michael Donaghy lay in hospital, on a life support system, after a massive brain haemorrhage. Of course, I now […]

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Free Verse and Penned in the Margins: be there or be square

August 29, 2014

Once again it’s that time. If you can possibly get to London next Saturday – the 6th, that is, not tomorrow – and are even remotely interested in the state of UK poetry, Free Verse is the place to be. I think this might be the fair’s fourth year; it’s now such a well-embedded date […]

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The Great Below and the great after

August 18, 2014

This year marks ten years since Michael Donaghy died. As it happens, this autumn his Collecteds – poems and prose – are both going to be out in paperback, at last. Almost more to the point, the first critical guide to his work (appropriately called Smith: A Reader’s Guide to Michael Donaghy) will be published by […]

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Purple prose for purple times

August 4, 2014

1980: One of the things I really wish I hadn’t lost over the years is my great-grandfather’s scrapbook. It was a large, old-fashioned tome with dark pages, on which anything that meant something to my great-grandfather had been glued. A lot of it was very boring to the teenager I was when I read it. […]

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John McCullough: blog tour guest post no. 4

August 3, 2014

John McCullough had been on the poetry scene for ten years or so and had three pamphlets published (including the Tall Lighthouse pamphlet, The Lives of Ghosts) by the time his first collection came out in 2o11.  The Frost Fairs – one of the many generation-changing first collections made possible by the Salt – won the Polari […]

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