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Guardian Books podcast: Women writers - Austen, Plath, Olds and Segal

Two hundred years after Pride and Prejudice was first published and 50 years after The Bell Jar first appeared in print, we look back to examine the legacy of Elizabeth Bennet and Esther Greenwood....

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Interview: Olwyn Hughes, Sylvia Plath's literary executor

Ted Hughes's sister tells Sam Jordison how misrepresented she feels the story of her sister-in-law's death has beenClick here to read Elizabeth Sigmund's side of the story I spoke to a number of Plath...

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Interview: Elizabeth Sigmund, dedicatee of The Bell Jar – Reading group

Sylvia Plath's friend tells Sam Jordison about her memories of getting caught up in a family's tragedyClick here to read Olwyn Hughes's side of the story Elizabeth Sigmund was a friend of Sylvia...

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Guardian book club: Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy

A subject that challenges the resources of verse Carol Ann Duffy is often praised (or occasionally dispraised) for her accessibility, and this is a matter of language as well as subject matter. When...

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The Seacunny by Gerard Woodward – review

A note of immovable discord permeates a new collection by Gerard Woodward Michael Donaghy wrote that having a tattoo done required "a whim of iron". Gerard Woodward, who in The Seacunny joins the...

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The Healers

By Sharon Oldswinner of the TS Eliot Best Collection of 2012 prize When they say, If there are any doctors aboard,would they make themselves known, I remember when my thenhusband would rise, and I...

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The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie – review

Kathleen Jamie's spare verse is both in tune with nature and at home with itself Kathleen Jamie's The Overhaul is easy to overlook (as I did when it came out towards the end of last year) because...

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Sundance film festival 2013: Kill Your Darlings - first look review

This Beat generation film - starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg - hammers out a surprisingly complex and satisfying rhythm, with just the odd dud note Films about the Beat generation are all...

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Lucretius, part 1: a poem to explain the entire world around us | Emma Woolerton

The subject of Lucretius's six-book poem De Rerum Natura was not war, love, myth or history – it was atomic physics Lucretius (full name Titus Lucretius Carus) lived in the first half of the century...

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Poem of the week: Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns

To mark the Bard's birthday week, one of his own favourites, describing a celidh to remember This week, the Scottish Bard's birthday will be celebrated around the world, and what better relish to...

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Ruth Siverns obituary

Young fiancee of Philip Larkin and inspiration for some of his early poetry Ruth Siverns, who has died aged 85, was engaged to the poet Philip Larkin from 1948 until 1950 and inspired some of his most...

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Richard Blanco's inaugural poem for Obama is a valiant flop

'One Today' has some fine lines, but writing good poetry for a grand national celebration is an impossible feat The celebratory public poem is an extinct genre in our sceptical postmodern times, and...

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Sylvia Plath: 50 years later and the same bitter arguments rage on | Hadley...

Half a century after her death, the debate over the poet burns with ever-greater fervour, but it need not follow that if one is pro-Plath one is anti-Hughes Last week I referred to the upcoming 50th...

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James Franco: the actor who wrote a poem for Barack Obama

The Spider-Man star and polymath penned one to commemorate the president's second inauguration. And it's truly awful Age: 34. Appearance: Omnipresent. Occupation: Actor, director, poet, musician,...

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Go Giants by Nick Laird - review

The epic ambition of Nick Laird's latest collection of poems reveals the poet's genuine sense of the incomprehensible scale of the cosmos Nick Laird hails from a land of giants – literary giants,...

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My Hero: Robert Burns

His poetry performed itself – it still demands to be heard aloud Despite every Burns Supper I've ever been to being longer than the Tattoo; despite Hugh MacDiarmid being absolutely spot-on when he...

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Burns is not the only bard

Still widely assumed a one-off because of his class, Burns actually had numerous contemporaries from ordinary backgrounds In a slightly peevish strain, Sir Walter Scott wrote in the Edinburgh Annual...

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Sharon Olds: Confessions of a divorce

Forty years after a literary magazine dismissed Sharon Olds' poems about her children, she has become the first American woman to win the TS Eliot prize, for her exploration of an equally domestic...

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Saturday poem: Bruce's Address to his troops, at the Battle of Bannockburn,...

by Robert Burns SCOTS, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,Scots, whom BRUCE has aften led,Welcome to your gory bed, Or to glorious victorie! Now's the day, and now's the hour!See the front o' battle lour!See...

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Lucretius, part 2: all things are made of atoms | Emma Woolerton

In Lucretius's universe, there are atoms and there is void – completely empty space. Nothing else can be said to exist Lucretius's stated aim in his six-book poem, De Rerum Natura, is to free us from...

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