A few lines on Elizabeth Jane Howard

May 19, 2016

I am currently reading the novels of Elizabeth Jane Howard, one after another, on the advice of Hilary Mantel in the Guardian. (Above, a different piece from the Guardian, with Howard at 90: ‘Writing is what gets me up in the morning’.) Mantel has written the introduction to a new edition of The Long View, but the article […]

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The typewriter revolutionary & National Poetry Month

April 8, 2016

It can’t have escaped your notice that it’s April. The cruellest month. The month with shoures soote. The one that come she will. (And also my birth month – it’s my birthday on Monday, and I’m just recovering from my weeks-long virus enough to begin to think about that gruesome fact.) The other thing it is, of course, is […]

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Ach du lieber, mein Drumpf

March 4, 2016

There are a few things I haven’t yet done this week that I should have – but the thing I was doing (in between the other stuff I did do, ie teaching and writing and so on) has taught me a lot. Basically, I was ill for two days and – so you wouldn’t have to – I glued myself in […]

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TS Eliot shortlist workshop: poetry for our times

December 31, 2015

Happy New Year! Kicking off 2016 the way I mean to go on, I’ve been reading the ten books of the TS Eliot Prize shortlist. For the fourth year running I’ll be doing a workshop on all ten books on Saturday Jan 9th (spaces free). This is the best way I’ve ever found of really getting a lot out […]

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Jeremy Noel-Tod: ‘a dish served rare in the John Keats Steak House’

November 23, 2015

As I’ve practically neglected to mention up until now on this blog, my book of essays (Forgive the Language: Essays on Poets and Poetry, Penned in the Margins) is out on 1st December; click that link there and you can even pre-order it. Naturally, with this in mind, I’ve been in a mood to support books […]

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Entering the typosphere

November 9, 2015

I’ve been meaning for months to write more, and specifically to write more about typewriters. All my energy has been going into a combination of job-hunting and working on the last bits of Forgive the Language – out in three weeks, folks! Can you believe it. I think it goes to print today. Just a few days […]

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Another earnest chestnut for Remembrance Day

November 8, 2015

[This reprises a post I first wrote in I think 2008. It appears in my book, Forgive the Language: Essays on Poetry and Poets, out with Penned in the Margins on December 2.] In June 1918, a young poet called Eloise Robinson, touring the Front on behalf of the YMCA, was giving a poetry recital to an audience of […]

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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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