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Poem of the week: To a Snail by Marianne Moore

Precise observations of this humble creature provide a droll allegorical critique of style To a Snail If “compression is the first grace of style,”you have it. Contractility is a virtueas modesty is a...

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Liu Xiaobo obituary

Chinese writer and political prisoner who won the Nobel peace prize in 2010It was China’s decision to jail Liu Xiaobo for 11 years over a call for peaceful democratic reform that spurred the Norwegian...

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Daljit Nagra: ‘Poetry is an espresso shot of thought’

Radio 4’s poet in residence on his journey from school dropout to poetry prizewinnerDaljit Nagra remembers the moment his life changed course: it was when he rang home for his A-level results. He was a...

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Well done Unesco for honouring the culture of the Lake District

Wordsworth’s daffodils, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons – Cumbria has been fertile ground for countless writers The Lake District has just become the first UK national...

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Poem of the week: Chimera by Stephen Romer

The sometimes frightening mythological figure allows the poet to portray real heartbreak with a winning light touch Chimera Une seconde fois perdue! Nerval Related: Poem of the week: To a Snail by...

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Gary Panter: the cartoonist who took a trip to hell and back

Dante and Milton are recast through the eyes of a redneck Jesus in Gary Panter’s latest graphic novel. He opens up about the nightmare hallucinations and comic-book disasters that led him there There’s...

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The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life by Karin Roffman – review

A brilliantly researched study explores the poet’s difficult relationship with his farmer father and his guilt-ridden need to conceal his sexuality The American poet John Ashbery, who turns 90 this...

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Paradise Lost 'translated more often in last 30 years than previous 300'

Global study finds Milton’s verse epic rendered in languages from Tamil to Tongan, and argues interest is linked to social turmoil and political revolutions Three hundred and fifty years after it was...

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Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong review – migration, America and...

Borders and identities blur in this hotly tipped collection from a young poet who moved to the US as a childIt is tempting to read Ocean Vuong’s poetry with his life story in mind. Glimpses of it...

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Acclaimed Iranian artist refused visa to attend Edinburgh book festival

Children’s book illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi says Kafkaesque reasons given for refusal An acclaimed Iranian illustrator has been denied a visa to attend the Edinburgh international book festival amid...

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Ian McMillan: ‘Barnsley is culturally very interesting’

The ‘bard of Barnsley’ on his new libretto for Ice-Cream: The Opera – and living in the village where he grew up Ian McMillan, nicknamed the bard of Barnsley, is a poet, writer, playwright and saviour...

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The art of making a jihadist

We know about jihadists’ dedication to violence, but that’s not the whole story, says expert Thomas Hegghammer. There’s a hidden culture of poetry, music and storytelling that sustains their...

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Poem(s) of the week: A pair of odes to the Pulteney daughters by Ambrose Philips

These two sunny works celebrating the arrival of young children are more than a little sentimental, but they also have a winning freshness To Miss Charlotte PulteneyIn her mother’s arms, May 1, 1724...

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This be the place… Larkin flats to get second plaque

The plaque on a building where Philip Larkin lived may be joined by a second, for another acclaimed occupant, as Stephanie Wilson explainsNot all plaques are blue! The one already in place at 32...

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My uncle Siegfried: Sister Jessica Gatty on her life-changing friendship with...

Siegfried Sassoon’s intense friendship with his niece caused a family fallout and led to her becoming a nun. As new opera Silver Birch explores the great war poet’s life, we meet her in her convent “I...

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The tragedies of Passchendaele remembered | Letters

Readers honour the heroes of Ypres, including Hedd Wyn, the Welsh bard killed weeks before winning the National Eisteddfod, and the three battles’ many Commonwealth casualtiesIt is right that we should...

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Poem of the week: Life is a Dream by John Ashbery

To celebrate the 90th birthday of this majestic writer, a poem whose casual telling of what might be a coming-of-age story reveals some fascinating ambiguities Life is a Dream A talent for...

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Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi review – a striking initiation

The Zambian-born British poet proves himself much more than ‘another brother who can rhyme’ in this assured debutI first came across Kayo Chingonyi at the Coronet – once a seedy cinema in Notting Hill...

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Man Booker prize 2017 and poet Kayo Chingonyi – books podcast

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud and Acast. Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter On this week’s podcast, Sian, Claire and Richard start by looking at this year’s...

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Geoffrey Godbert obituary

Poet and editor who co-founded the Greville PressGeoffrey Godbert, who has died aged 80, published more than a dozen collections of his own poetry; was joint editor of the Greville Press with Harold...

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