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Elizabeth-Jane Burnett: 'Swimming can give you the optimism to keep going'

Swims is a work of poetry that follows its author into open waters around the UK, where she finds both simple pleasure and more complicated political hope “What can I do as a person on the planet, as a...

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Going for a gong: the week in literary prizes – roundup

We toast the winners of the Goldsmiths prize, the National Book awards, the Warwick prize for women in translation and the Stephen Spender for poetry There were gongs galore this week. First to...

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Poem of the week: Yoga for Leaders and Others by Philip Fried

Instructions for spiritual exercises are retooled as a manual for presenting political evasion in the most attractive light Yoga for Leaders and Others Mountain Pose Continue reading...

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Bantam by Jackie Kay review – home truths from a goddess of small things

Jackie Kay depicts a world of grief, joy, love and humour in the sparest termsThis collection is a pick-me-up – fresh, upbeat and sympathetic. The tone is partly a matter of temperament. Jackie Kay...

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Helen Dunmore's final poems lead shortlists for 2017 Costa prizes

Inside the Wave, in which the poet reflected on her own impending death, joins diverse contenders in poetry, fiction, biography and children’s books Helen Dunmore’s final poetry collection, in which...

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Best books of 2017 – part two

From moving memoirs to far-reaching fiction, the wonders of science and the lessons of history, novelists, poets and critics pick their best reads of the year Part one: George Saunders, Ali Smith and...

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The week in radio: The Verb Celebrates 35 Years of Spoken Word; The Adoption;...

The Verb’s hymn to spoken word was pure poetry, while a real-life story of adoption hit homeThe Verb Celebrates 35 Years of Spoken Word (Radio 3) | iPlayerThe Adoption (Radio 4) | iPlayer5 Live Daily...

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Poem of the week: Sonnet to Vauxhall by Thomas Hood

A dazzling sonnet captures the fizz and excitement of a firework display at London’s celebrated pleasure gardens Sonnet to Vauxhall “The English Garden.” – Mason Continue reading...

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Omar Musa: Genocide is the basis for racism in Australia

The poet, writer and hip-hop artist on language, his new book and album, and the demonisation of Yassmin Abdel-Magied Being a migrant in Australia, according to the author, rapper and poet Omar Musa,...

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Hera Lindsay Bird: poet of exploding helicopters and dick jokes

The New Zealand poet explains the 90s sitcom references and unembarrassed passions that have gone into her eponymous debut It is an ungodly hour on a Wednesday morning and Hera Lindsay Bird’s...

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Kim Moore's 'thrilling' debut poetry collection wins Geoffrey Faber prize

The Art of Falling, by a Cumbrian poet and former trumpet teacher, joins illustrious former winners including Seamus Heaney and JM Coetzee A debut poetry collection that tackles the author’s own...

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Jorie Graham: ‘I am living in the late season, but it has its songs, too’

The Pulitzer-winning poet on mortality, makeup and capturing life’s complexityThe last lines of the last poem in Jorie Graham’s most recent collection, FAST, imagine dawn giving way to day: “Leaving /...

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'If only I'd been warned!' - writers choose books to give to their younger...

Julian Barnes, Margaret Drabble, Tessa Hadley, David Nicholls and others choose reading matter that would have been useful when young Continue reading...

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Carol Rumens’s best poetry books of 2017

The year was marked by a wealth of new black and ethnic minority voices and a rich haul of debutsPoetry’s multiverse expanded in 2017. What struck me most was the sparky power surge of black and ethnic...

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Eight new Australian writers you should read (according to those who know)

We ask industry insiders – publishers, editors, festival directors – for their pick of the new cream of the literary crop No writer is an island. Behind every blossoming wordsmith is a literary...

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Poem of the week – Walter Osborne: Apple Gathering, Quimperlé by Frank Ormsby

A richly described Victorian painting of a harvest scene is full of innocent joy, shadowed by what history would soon bring to the fields of northern France Walter Osborne: Apple Gathering, Quimperlé...

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The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson review – a new cultural landmark

The first version of Homer’s groundbreaking work by a woman will change our understanding of it for everHomer’s Odyssey, probably composed around 700BC, is one of the oldest poems in the western...

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House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson review – new literary territory

Slavery, a dub musician as Noah and memories of a Jamaican childhood inform a collection that subverts history’s grand narrativesIn an elegiac essay on the late Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, Ishion...

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You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie review – a poet and...

Humour and anger combine in this story of the Native American experience Sherman Alexie has emerged as one of the US’s greatest writers. And because he has always written of the terrible beauty of...

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Poem of the week: Microbial Museum by Maya Chowdhry

Finding the poetry in scientific vocabulary, this work is alive to the marvels of its discoveries as well as the ecological peril it reports Microbial Museum April ship sets sail, sea freezes ripples,...

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