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Poetry book of the month: Arias by Sharon Olds – review

Sharon Olds’s brilliant new collection, an exploration of intimacy and estrangement, is her most moving yetThe American Sharon Olds goes where many poets would fear to tread and others not dream of...

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Jeanine Cummins on her explosive new novel, American Dirt

This week, Claire talks to the controversial author Jeanine Cummins, whose thriller American Dirt – opening with a violent crime at a family barbecue and following Lydia and her son on their journey...

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Poem of the week: Sycamore Gap by Zoe Mitchell

A fierce standoff between a wall and a tree is rich with allegorical resonance Sycamore Gap You’re history, said the tree to the wall;the last crumbling remains of empire. Continue reading...

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Margaret Atwood to publish first collection of poetry in over a decade

Dearly, out in November, will be the Canadian author’s first book since The Testaments Margaret Atwood is set to publish her first collection of poetry in over a decade, an exploration of “absences and...

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John Cooper Clarke: ‘I’ve dressed the same way since 1965’

The poet and performer on keeping his clothes simple, stapling them back together, and being fashionable once every 15 years for about three months This is my default look. I operate on a capsule...

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Hylda Sims obituary

My friend, Hylda Sims, the skiffle singer, poet, songwriter and activist, has died aged 87, after a short illness. Hylda was a strong presence on the 1950s music scene in London and with her husband,...

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Jeet Thayil: ‘The last book that made me laugh? A book of poems by Narendra...

The poet and novelist on the literary merits of the Indian Prime Minister and changing his opinion of TS Eliot The book I am currently readingEdna O’Brien’s Girl, which serves as a corrective to the...

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The Remains of Logan Dankworth review – a poet for our day

Pound Arts Centre, Corsham Luke Wright’s eloquent verse monologue pairs Brexit with the breakdown of a marriage Luke Wright is a poet for our day and today in particular. This dramatic monologue,...

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Poem of the month: Moonlight Sonata by Ruth Padel

We make the life we need.The city’s bells are muffled,the sky is frozen copper.You can still hear, sometimes.Still win the improvising contests. A sonata in C sharp minor,quasi fantasia, like a blind...

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The best recent poetry collections – review roundup

Rendang by Will Harris; Art of Escape by Mina Gorji; Killing Kanoko / Wild Grass on the Riverbank by Itō Hiromi; and Hello by Crispin BestWill Harris’s Rendang (Granta, £12.99) is a sharp and assured...

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Poem of the week: In the Rose Garden by Helen Tookey

This elliptical story of a young woman is rich with possible readings In the Rose Garden She’s in the rose garden again, staring at her right arm, its pale soft underside that never gets the sun, never...

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Raficq Abdulla obituary

My great-uncle Raficq Abdulla, who has died aged 79, could be described as a modern-day renaissance man. A lawyer, writer and poet, he was a board member of the Muslim Law (Sharia) Council in the UK,...

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Ban on Aleister Crowley lecture at Oxford University - archive, 4 February 1930

4 February 1930: Disciplinary action will be taken against university Poetry Society if Crowley is allowed to give talk on a 15th century magician Oxford, MondayA lecture which was to have been given...

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Edward Kamau Brathwaite obituary

Poet and academic who aimed to create a distinctively Caribbean form of poetry to celebrate the region’s voices and languageEdward Brathwaite, also known as Kamau Brathwaite, who has died aged 89, was...

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Michael Rosen condemns UK education system's 'fear of laughter'

Announcing the winners of this years Laugh Out Loud awards for the funniest children’s books, Rosen took aim at the ‘oppressive’ solemnity of today’s schools In an “oppressive” education system,...

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Poet laureate Simon Armitage launches 'ambient post-rock' band

LYR sets Armitage’s spoken vocals to music from Richard Walters and Patrick Pearson. A debut album is due in spring Most modern poets laureate have released recordings of their work, but none hitherto...

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Danez Smith: ‘White people can learn from it, but that’s not who I’m writing...

The youngest winner of the Forward prize and author of viral sensation ‘dear white America’, Smith is back with a deeply personal collection, Homie • Plus read an extract from Homie below Danez Smith...

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Poem of the week: Song by Peter Gizzi

Alive with thought-in-action, these verses sing a new kind of love song Song I want color to braid,to bleed, want songto fly to flex to thinkin lines. To workthe pulp, to open upthis cardinal feelingin...

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Marc Alexander obituary

My friend Marc Alexander, who has died aged 90, was a poet and prolific novelist who wrote more than 70 books, as well as being a journalist and professional photographer. His books, set in New...

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Get ready for the marmalade years | Letters

Further correspondence on marmalade and longevity from Helen Scadding, Jan Stillaway, Clare Ronald and Steve Moore, prompted by our long-running letters threadI am 62 and have only just reached the...

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