sat 22/06/2024

poetry

Colin Herd and Maria Sledmere: Cocoa and Nothing review - arts of sinking

In his mock-poetic manual Peri-Bathos (1728), Alexander Pope opens by describing the afflictions which beset inhabitants of the lower Parnassus. The aristocracy living further up the mountain commit burglaries, and, "taking advantage of the rising...

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Will Harris: Brother Poem review - writing the poems that could have been

You shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover, but you can get pretty far with an epigraph. The epigraph to Will Harris’s new collection, Brother Poem (following his T. S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted RENDANG in 2020), is a brief but telling prelude, an...

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Disbelief - 100 Russian Anti-War Poems (ed. Julia Nemirovskaya) review - writing battle-lines

On 24th February 2022, when Vladimir Putin launched his “special military operation”, life in Ukraine changed abruptly and in a brutal fashion. Soon the impact of the war was felt around the world – and not only in rising food and energy prices. Yet...

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'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

Fiona Benson’s new collection of poems, Ephemeron (Jonathan Cape, 2022), tries to capture those things that are always moving out of grasp. It does this through four sections: the first, “Insect Love Songs”, thrums with a lyric transience, zeroing-...

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Best of 2022: Books

From Kafka’s spry sketches to Derek Owusu’s novel-poem, and Jaan Kross’s Estonian Wolf Hall to Katherine Rundell’s spirited biography of John Donne, our reviewers take the time to share their favourite books of 2022. Before his death, Franz...

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10 Questions for Bruce Lindsay, biographer of Ivor Cutler

Ivor Cutler: A Life Outside the Sitting Room by Bruce Lindsay, is the first full-length biography of the Glasgow-born poet, author, performer and songwriter. The book will be published on the centenary of Cutler’s birth, 15 January 2023. Cutler...

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PJ Harvey - Orlam: In Conversation with Max Porter, The Old Market, Hove

In an intimate evening with Polly Jean Harvey MBE, the double Mercury Prize winning artist sang an altogether different kind of tune than you might expect.Reading from her new book of poetry, Orlam, a coming of age story about a not-girl-not-boy,...

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Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Derek Owusu’s debut That Reminds Me won the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. When asked what it was that she loved most about Owusu’s semi-autobiographical 117-page book, Preti Taneja, chair of the judges (and winner of the prize herself in 2018)...

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TS Eliot: Into The Waste Land, BBC Two / Four Quartets, Starring Ralph Fiennes, BBC Four review - a great 100th birthday present to a giant of modern literature

Can you make modern poetry come to life on a TV screen? The BBC has had two stabs recently at answering this question, as part of the centennary celebrations for TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, seen by many as the greatest poem of the 20th century. One...

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Album: Dry Cleaning - Stumpwork

There are many reasons that I am obsessed with Florence Shaw. It's not just that as a long time sufferer of Resting-Bitch-Face I identify hard with her deadpan nonchalance, it's also pure props that she's brought spoken-word-set-to-music into the...

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Treason The Musical In Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - plenty of musical gunpowder but not enough plot

A semi-staged concert performance of a musical is a little like a third trimester ultrasound scan. You should see the anatomy in development, the shape of what is to come and, most importantly, discern a heart beating at its centre. But you can’t...

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Amalie Smith: Thread Ripper review - the tangled web we weave

Sitting in the park on a hot summer’s day, life began to imitate art. I had been soaking up the sun’s now overpowering rays for over an hour and was beginning to feel its radiating effects.Golden green filaments of grass moved back, the trees swayed...

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