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Louise Glück: Colm Tóibín on a brave and truthful Nobel winner

Her brilliantly controlled poems offer a picture of the world as a struggle between ordeal and wonderIn Stanford in 2008, the Irish poet Eavan Boland told me how much she admired the work of Louise...

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Mohammad Reza Shajarian embodied the timeless beauty of Persian music

The singer, who has died aged 80, was silenced in his home nation for his outspoken criticism – but his artistry played on in the hearts of Iranians at home and abroadI vividly remember the first time...

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Derek Mahon obituary | Sean O’Brien

One of the great poets of his native Ireland who combined an apocalyptic vision with a utopian sense of survivalDerek Mahon, who has died aged 78, was one of the great poets of his native Ireland and...

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Poem of the month: jay by Robert Macfarlane

Jay, Jay, plant me an acorn.I will plant you a thousand acorns.Acorn, acorn, grow me an oak.I will grow you an oak that will live for a thousand years.Continue reading...

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I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke review – chapter and verse

This riveting memoir of the Salford dandy’s ascent to national treasuredom charms with tales of heroin and Sugar PuffsEven at the start, John Cooper Clarke never had stage fright. “They say about...

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The best recent poetry collections – review roundup

Runaway by Jorie Graham; It Says Here by Sean O’Brien; The Problem of the Many by Timothy Donnelly; and The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’oJorie Graham’s poetry uniquely portrays the struggle to...

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Poem of the week: The Bread of Childhood by Ihor Pavlyuk

The past becomes almost magically present again in this potent Ukrainian elegyThe Bread of ChildhoodGrandmother’s pyrohy oozing cherries, the soilFragrant with spring,These are the heart’s embroidered...

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Eritrean poet Amanuel Asrat named International Writer of Courage

The author, imprisoned without charge since 2001, was chosen to share the PEN Pinter prize by 2020’s winner Linton Kwesi JohnsonThe Eritrean poet Amanuel Asrat, who was arrested in 2001 and is believed...

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Ivor Cutler by KT Tunstall review – a plum of a programme

Tunstall’s celebration of the eccentric, poet and performer didn’t eschew more difficult testimony, but made a heartfelt love letter to a charming and yet slightly unsettling manTo me, Ivor Cutler was...

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Top 10 books about creative writing

From linguistics to essays by Zadie Smith and Toni Morrison, poet Anthony Anaxagorou recommends some ‘lateral’ ways in to a demanding craftThe poet Rita Dove was once asked what makes poetry...

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TS Eliot prize unveils 'unsettling, captivating' shortlist

Judges say the 10 poetry collections nominated for £25,000 award are ‘as urgent as they are artful’The prestigious TS Eliot prize has revealed a shortlist that shows that poetry is “the most resilient,...

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‘She never stops making demands on herself’: how US poet Louise Glück won the...

A writer of wisdom and grit, Glück sets a new course for each collectionRead Telescope, by Louise Glück, belowReaders who follow American poetry closely noticed Louise Glück in the 1970s. The rest of...

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Michael Rosen to publish book about his near-fatal Covid-19 ordeal

Beloved children’s author will reflect on illness that put him in intensive care for 47 days using mix of poems and nurses’ ward notesAfter spending 47 days in intensive care fighting coronavirus,...

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On my radar: John Cooper Clarke's cultural highlights

The poet on vintage TV, elegant writing about architecture and Dylan’s endearing take on the Great American SongbookJohn Cooper Clarke is a performance poet, comedian and presenter who rose to fame in...

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Poem of the week: It Was As If a Ladder by Jane Hirshfield

This enigmatic symbolic narrative has unsettling resonance for our timesIt Was As If a LadderIt was as ifa ladder,Continue reading...

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Letters: Anne Stevenson obituary

Dennis Butts writes: Anne Stevenson was a lovely person whom I got to know when she taught creative writing at Bulmershe College, Reading, in the 1970s. She was a splendid teacher, always encouraging...

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Country diary: these rocks are all trying to tell us something

Ilkey Moor, West Yorkshire: The message in the neolithic cup-and-ring marks is harder to read than Simon Armitage’s Stanza StonesAir races over Ilkley Moor. New rivers leave it as fast as they can, and...

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On Connection by Kae Tempest review – persuasive and profound

The poet and musician’s essay on our need to combat alienation through creativity is refreshingKae Tempest has added one more string to an already crowded bow: On Connection is the first nonfiction...

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Forward poetry prize goes to ‘audacious, erotically charged’ The Air Year

Caroline Bird, whose book was inspired by the first year of a relationship, takes £10,000 honour for best collection alongside awards for Will Harris and Malika BookerBritish poets have won all of this...

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Poem of the week: Secrecy by Samuel Greenberg

The largely self-taught author died from TB in 1917 aged 23, but works such as this fully deserve their place in the history of modernist poetrySecrecyThe apparent gale, vaned in winding stormsHas...

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