sat 18/05/2024

poetry

Sappho, Southwark Playhouse Elephant review - a glitzy celebration of sapphic love

Who is Sappho? What is she? Not much is known about the influential Greek poet who was born some 2500 years ago. Her poetry was celebrated during her lifetime, but very little has survived. Those fragments that do exist speak of love, passion and...

Read more...

David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

David Harsent has won a lot of prizes. From the Eric Gregory to the T. S. Eliot, he has carved out a literary career positively glittering with awards and nominations, and keeps the kind of trophy cabinet that would turn many of his contemporaries...

Read more...

Angela Leighton: Something, I Forget review - the art of letting go

Half way through Something, I Forget, in a poem entitled “Returns”, and subtitled “Invasion of Ukraine, February 2022”, Angela Leighton writes, “Today’s my birthday. Many happy returns. / Elsewhere there’s shot, mortar shells, grenades.”The...

Read more...

Ishion Hutchinson: School of Instructions review - learning against estrangement

School of Instructions, a book-length poem composed of six sections, is a virtuosic dance between memory and forgetting, distant tragedy and personal grief. At times, Hutchinson’s language perhaps forgets itself in its own excess. His lines are...

Read more...

Jesse Darling: Virgins review - going straight

Self-described ‘intermittent poet’ and 2023 Turner Prize-nominee Jesse Darling said this in a recent interview for Art Review: ‘I think about modernity as a fairytale’. The comparison is made in reference to capitalism’s beginnings, as continuous as...

Read more...

Perfection of a Kind: Britten vs Auden, City of London Sinfonia, QEH review - the odd couple

“Underneath the abject willow/ Lover, sulk no more;/ Act from thought should quickly follow:/ What is thinking for?” In 1936, early in their tempestuous friendship, WH Auden wrote a poem for Benjamin Britten that urged the younger artist to pursue...

Read more...

Lutz Seiler: Pitch & Glint review - real verse power

Reading the torrent of press-releases and blurbs on the many – and ever-growing – contemporary poetry collections over time, one starts to notice a distinct recurrence of certain buzzwords: searing is a regular participant, as is honest, and urgent...

Read more...

Album: Susanna - Baudelaire & Orchestra

After his death in 1867, it didn’t take long for Charles Baudelaire’s poems to be set to music. Composer Henri Duparc did so in 1870, but Claude Debussy’s late 1880s framing of five of the Symbolist pioneer’s verses confirmed this as more than a one...

Read more...

Nick Laird: Up Late review - attention lapses

A few pages before the titular poem of Up Late, Nick Laird describes a haircut in a bathroom mirror, and finds a possible art form reflected back: "something like a poem / glances back / from the deep inside." The lines are broadly representative of...

Read more...

The Laureate review - a romp with Robert Graves

Nowadays Robert Graves is best known for his later and least interesting works on Greek myths and Roman emperors, but at his best, in the first decade of his writing life, as a war poet (Fairies and Fusiliers) and war memoirist (Good-Bye to All That...

Read more...

Solmaz Sharif: Customs review - a poetics of exile and return

The language of poetic technique is perhaps weighted towards rupture, rather than reparation: lines end and break, we count beats and stress, experience caesurae (literally ‘cuttings’), and mark punctuation (literally ‘to prick’). Juxtaposition sets...

Read more...

Album: Dave Okumu and the Seven Generations - I Came from Love

It’s hard to think of an album that’s simultaneously as dramatic and as restrained as this. But then Dave Okumu has always put his music and ideas out into the world in the subtlest of ways.As a guitarist he’s been omnipresent for many years,...

Read more...
Subscribe to poetry