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Matthew Sweeney obituary

Prolific poet whose darkly humorous fables expressed the strangeness of the world with a sense of delightMatthew Sweeney, who has died of motor neurone disease aged 65, was one of the most adventurous,...

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Langston Hughes 'born a year before accepted date', researcher finds

Poet researching archives of local African American newspaper finds story reporting on ‘little Langston’ before his recorded birth date A poet’s late-night internet search of local newspaper archives...

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Socialist bookshop welcomes ‘uplifting’ response after attack by far right

Crowds gather at Bookmarks in London’s Bloomsbury to hear writers and poets, including former children’s laureate Michael Rosen A week after far-right protesters stormed Britain’s largest socialist...

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How amateur sleuths finally tracked down the burial place of William Blake

On the 191st anniversary of his death, fans and artists will unveil new headstone and pay homage to poet’s work When the stone marking William Blake’s grave is unveiled this afternoon, on the 191st...

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Bells will ring out: world to mark end of First World War

From Flanders to villages across the UK and Germany, bells will toll on 11 NovemberBefore dawn broke over northern France on 4 November 1918, a 25-year-old British officer, Lt Wilfred Owen of the...

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Robert Graves: From Great War Poet to Good-bye to All That – review

Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s commanding new biography reveals the poet to be a slipperier character than we imaginedIt landed “like a Zeppelin bomb”. Such was Siegfried Sassoon’s response to the appearance,...

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Poem of the week: R Alcona to J Brenzaida by Emily Brontë

Although set in the young author’s fantasy realm of Gondal, there is a maturity to the portrait of grief here that is a long way from juvenilia R Alcona to J Brenzaida Cold in the earth, and the deep...

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Gardening with the red trousers brigade | Brief letters

Interest rates | Poetry in newspapers | Minister spotting | Cat namesSome 35 years ago I was a researcher at London Business School, sharing our sole computer with the renowned (or infamous) Economic...

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National Portrait Gallery buys painting of young Dylan Thomas

Cherubic painting by the Welsh poet’s friend Augustus John has been acquired for £214,750 A portrait of a young Dylan Thomas, with red curly locks and a fresh, butter-wouldn’t-melt expression, has been...

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On my radar: Andrew McMillan’s cultural highlights

The poet and winner of the Guardian First Book award on the joys of Liberty of London, Robyn, and this year’s most arresting voicesAndrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988. He studied...

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Poem of the week: Song at the Beginning of Autumn by Elizabeth Jennings

The first intimations of a change in the seasons prompt a lyrical reflection on what is being named Song at the Beginning of Autumn Now watch this Autumn that arrivesIn smells. All looks like Summer...

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Alexander Pope designed Marble Hill garden, says historian

Manuscript note has linked the 18th century poet to one of lost gardens of Georgian England Two words in faded brown ink on the back of a translation of Homer’s Odyssey have linked the 18th century...

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Poem of the week: Spathes by Loretta Collins Klobah

Etymology invites the imagination to a host of new places as the poet explores the rich possibilities of a botanical term I gather now dry-leaf spathesthat boys spear-waveand sword-cross, floatinto...

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The House With Only an Attic and a Basement by Kathryn Maris – review

Maris’s detailed, hyper-fast poems wittily bridge the gap between the genders This is the house that Kathryn Maris built: it has “only an attic and a basement”. What does it signify to have a bodiless...

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Clive James on his new epic poem: ‘The story of a mind heading into oblivion’

In and out of hospital, the writer felt compelled to write something new – an epic, with himself as the hero Until a few days ago, I was a patient in Addenbrooke’s hospital, here in Cambridge, while a...

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The limits of reason: Philip Pullman on why we believe in magic

The world of magic defies rational explanation, but beware dismissing it as nonsense. Like religious experience and poetry, it is a crucial aspect of being human, writes the Dark Materials author A new...

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Robert Graves by Jean Moorcroft Wilson review – from war poet to Goodbye to...

This sober biography includes convincing readings of his poetry, but it takes Graves’s charismatic lover to set the narrative alightMiranda Seymour opened her 1995 biography of Robert Graves, the last...

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Seven questions for seven poets

Observer New Review guest editor Kate Tempest asks seven fellow poets who she admires to answer one another’s questions about their craft, and how they define success I find it frustrating when reading...

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Wysing Polyphonic review – explosions in the sonic inventing shed

Wysing Arts Centre, CambridgeshireMoor Mother and Paul Purgas curate an inspirational gathering where electronic artists, dancers and poets freely test the boundaries of expression ‘Noises of spoons!”...

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Poem of the week: The Gulls by Howard Altmann

In this rhythmic poem, a figure finds his state of mind reflected in the wheeling movements of birds and a briny, rocky seascape The Gulls Here, where the gulls speakof everything I am not,the tall...

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