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Philip Larkin: Letters Home review – the poet as loyal, guilt-ridden son

What do your parents do to you? This correspondence, edited by James Booth, reveals a new side of Larkin, as he tries to make up for how much he hated visiting his mother “My very dear old creature,”...

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As poet laureate prepares to step down, the succession race begins

Carol Ann Duffy will finish her decade in the role in May, but the long process of choosing the next appointee begins this weekend Simon Armitage: The highest office in poetry Carol Ann Duffy ends...

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Poet laureate: the highest office in poetry | Simon Armitage

Poetry demands a laureate who is at home both in the library and in the wider world News: Search begins for the next poet laureate Language is our greatest invention. As a device for understanding...

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playtime review – paeans to beauty and selves that might have been

McMillan’s follow-up to his celebrated debut, physical, is a tautly controlled exploration of nostalgia and loss of innocence When Andrew McMillan published his first poetry collection, physical, in...

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Into the dark water: Philip Hoare on the life and death of Wilfred Owen

In peace and wartime, the poet found solace and sensuality in swimming. A new film marking the centenary of his death explores the refuges he sought away from the battlefield I spent my childhood...

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Letters Home 1936-1977 by Philip Larkin, edited by James Booth – review

The poet’s sweetly sad dispatches, mostly addressed to his mother, reek of social history, while revealing a witty, wise and grossly impractical manSometimes, you have to wonder about the guardians of...

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Poem of the week: Green Boughs by Naomi Mitchison

Ahead of the Armistice centenary, this impassioned work records the poet’s grief and outrage at the lives destroyed by the first world war Green Boughs My young, dear friends are dead,All my own...

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The Radical Democrats by Rob Sears – a poem for the midterms

In this new poem, constructed entirely out of speeches, statements and tweets from Donald Trump, a divided US is seen in the glare of the midterm elections A poem for the midterms Rob Sears is the...

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Country diary: life below zero for nettles in the serious moonlight

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: The leaves look like mountain ranges cut by river valleys seen from an aeroplane It is not yet dawn and the nettles are frosted. The moon, high among bruised clouds, is bright...

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Leonard Cohen, wounded but still walking – archive, November 1972

8 November 1972 Martin Walker talks to Leonard Cohen, whose new book of poems has just been published What an agonising, dreadful thing it is to be the cleverest boy in the country. To have your poems...

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Under Milk Wood review – Thomas's village moves to north-east England

Northern Stage, NewcastleStaged in the round, Elayce Ismail’s production relocates Dylan Thomas’s dramatic poem about the people of Llareggub In divided times, there’s something comforting about Dylan...

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Benjamin Zephaniah rejects poet laureate overtures: 'They are not worthy'

Poet says he has ‘absolutely no interest’ in state appointment after being speculatively named as a contender to follow Carol Ann Duffy Benjamin Zephaniah has ruled himself out of the running for the...

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Why I’ll be choosing poems instead of poppies this Armistice Day | Rhiannon...

In this time of nationalism and bombast, the works of the war poets cut through – and remind us of our shared humanity There is so much fixation on the poppy as a symbol of remembrance these days that...

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Reflections on the first world war and Armistice Day | Letters

On the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, readers share their thoughts on how the conflict shaped historyThe poppy is now a matter of controversy. Some claim it is a symbol of...

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Wanted: one royal versifier – an interest in trees and homeopathy an...

With Carol Ann Duffy bowing out as poet laureate, others are courting the honour Since he does not read newspapers or subscribe to news outlets, maybe someone could tell Jeremy Wright, the minister...

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Jackie Kay on Arthur Roberts: the black Scottish first world war soldier who...

In 2004, Roberts’s wartime diaries were discovered in a Glasgow attic. A century after he went to war, Scotland’s makar remembers his contribution Read Jackie Kay’s poem, The Looks of Loss, below...

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Let Woakes join Stokes and Foakes | Brief letters

Losing two Johnsons | US-obsessed Brits | Laurence Binyon | Striker with sledgehammer | Damon Albarn’s donkey jacket | Chris WoakesTo slightly misquote Oscar Wilde, to lose one Johnson may be regarded...

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Letters Home 1936-1977 by Philip Larkin – digested read

‘I gather from the fact that Pop hasn’t written for some while that he must have died. Here is a drawing of a frog. Still at least we have Basil Brush on the television’ Dear Mop and Pop (if he happens...

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'A pas de deux of sex and violence': a poet's guide to film noir

Claustrophobic and nihilistic, a disturbing universe with dramatic lighting. An award-winning poet explains why he immersed himself in film noir for his Booker-prize shortlisted debut novel I watched...

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Poem of the week: Smog by David Tait

An increasingly anxious speaker is pained by both systemic homophobia and pollution in the air, in this breathless poem by a Lancastrian living in China Smog by David Tait I don’t have long to writeso...

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