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Weatherwatch: Lord Byron's reflection of the rain in Genoa

The English poet in a letter to his half-sister describes a colossal downpour in the Italian city Lord Byron is in Italy near Genoa and sees a monumental deluge. “But being on a hill we were only...

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Michael Mott obituary

My father, Michael Mott, who has died aged 88, was a poet, novelist and biographer who published widely on both sides of the Atlantic. He upheld a daily practice of letter-writing. He corresponded with...

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The best recent poetry – review roundup

The Mizzy by Paul Farley; The Book of Taliesin translated by Gwyneth Lewis and Rowan Williams; After Cézanne by Maitreyabandhu; and Afterwardness by Mimi KhalvatiPaul Farley’s fifth collection The...

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Poem of the month: A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson

Each month the Guardian’s review section selects a poet or poem to highlightAnd if I speak of Paradise,then I’m speaking of my grandmotherwho told me to carry it alwayson my person, concealed, sono one...

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You say chumping, we say progging | Brief letters

Ciaran Carson | Salem witch-hunt | British values | Halloween oranges | Bonfire NightTo Patricia Craig’s illuminating and affectionate obituary of Ciaran Carson (31 October), I’d only add a tribute to...

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'It made me really crazy': Ben Lerner on confronting male rage and family trauma

As the final book in his acclaimed trilogy is published, The Topeka School author reflects on writing as his mother and ‘pompous’ Great American Novels Wandering around a Vija Celmins retrospective at...

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Poem of the week: My Hat by Stevie Smith

From a poet known for her gloom, this is a sunny, witty vision of a young woman’s liberation My Hat Mother said if I wore this hatI should be certain to get off with the right sort of chapWell, look...

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Country diary: Snowdonia's folklore river still invites a poetic pilgrimage

Llan Ffestiniog, Gwynedd: The Cyfnal gorge has attracted writers, mages and mystics over centuries, and the atmospherics still thrum A path descends from the hilltop village, its route following...

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Teacher who helps migrant children turn pain into prize poetry

One child wrote of a suicide bomber; another of the ‘sweet honey mangoes’ of home. Kate Clanchy helps them tune into their inner voice Kate Clanchy, tall, fast-talking and slightly intimidating, lays...

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'I needed a new home': how Debris Stevenson left Mormonism for grime

Her musical Poet in da Corner brought raving to the Royal Court. Now the writer and performer is exploring first love. She talks Mormonism, trauma and teen dreams Debris Stevenson’s first public...

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Brexit poetry may not heal our divided nation, but it helps | Rhiannon Lucy...

I fear what this crisis is doing to us. But verse is an antidote, illuminating where political commentary falls short Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, was undoubtedly wise when he declined to pen a...

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Blood, terror and bass: the heavy return of dub poetry

It was the insurrectionist sound of the turbulent 70s – and now it’s back, thanks to Moor Mother and King Midas Sound Earlier this year, British poet Roger Robinson met one of his idols, Linton Kwesi...

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The week in radio and podcasts: Have You Heard George’s Podcast?; How’s Work?

Two favourite podcasters returned last week, as relationship therapist Esther Perel tackled the workplace and George the Poet told the BBC to eff off Have You Heard George’s Podcast? (BBC Sounds)How’s...

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Poem of the week: Drunken Bellarmine by Emily Berry

Seething with contradictory impulses and emotions, this character study is also full of life and wit Drunken Bellarmineafter Renee So In this spirit of affliction I beheld two things,that shame is also...

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From carnage to a camp beauty contest: the endless allure of Troy

Why has the ravaged fallen city been such an inspiration to artists for millennia? Ahead of an epic show at the British Museum, our writer unravels its extraordinary influence Troy is a real place. The...

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Baudelaire’s unknown extra verse to erotic poem revealed

New lines to The Jewels, inscribed in a copy of Les Fleurs du Mal, has been unveiled as the volume comes up for auction More than 150 years ago, Charles Baudelaire scrawled an extra verse of his erotic...

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On my radar: Sarah Hall’s cultural highlights

The English novelist on an ideal fusion of art and retail, the inspiring verse of Kathleen Jamie and the joys of the electric sazNovelist Sarah Hall was born in Carlisle in 1974 and educated at...

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Poem of the week: Ablation by Helen Mort

A heart treatment provides the inspiration for a lyric as precise as the procedure it reflects on Ablation Inside the Northern Generalthey’re trying to burn awaya small piece of your heart. Continue...

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Stray Dogs review – Russian poet's struggle against Stalin

Park theatre, LondonAnna Akhmatova is forced to choose between artistic integrity and saving her son in Olivia Olsen’s play In 1935, Anna Akhmatova began writing Requiem in Soviet Russia. Her son, Lev,...

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We spend so much time staring at our phones. What do we miss when we don't...

The deeply corny film Last Christmas was maligned for its main character’s ‘look up’ philosophy. But perhaps it’s the philosophy we need right now In Paul Feig’s romantic comedy Last Christmas, jaded...

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