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The best recent poetry collections – review

How to Wash a Heart by Bhanu Kapil; Saffron Jack by Rishi Dastidar; The Atlas of Lost Beliefs by Ranjit Hoskote; and Shine, Darling by Ella Frears Bhanu Kapil’s How to Wash a Heart (Pavilion, £9.99)...

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'I came face to face with Dennis Nilsen': poet laureate Simon Armitage

The former probation officer tells Desert Island Discs of the time he was in ‘a tiny room’ with the serial killer The poet laureate Simon Armitage has spoken of his encounter with the notorious serial...

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'Love and desire': how erotic poetry is helping Afghans through lockdown

A new generation of poets in Afghanistan is exploring the physical side of love – and isolation is their inspiration Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage It has been weeks in...

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Poem of the week: Of Bronze — and Blaze (319) by Emily Dickinson

This fizzing response to seeing the Northern Lights steps carefully around cosmic visions 319 Of Bronze — and Blaze — The North — tonight — So adequate — it forms — So preconcerted with itself — So...

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Poetry book of the month: Tongues of Fire by Seán Hewitt – review

An inspirational, uplifting and assured debut collection, reflecting on nature and mortality It is extraordinary to encounter a debut collection that feels as established as Seán Hewitt’s – and not in...

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Top 10 books about Iran | Nazanine Hozar

From memoirs and history to verse and fiction, the best writing about Iran has a uniquely poetic touch Iran is an ancient country with a complex people, among them some of the greatest poets who ever...

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Florence Pugh and Simon Armitage record lockdown poem together

Collaboration is a recording of the poet laureate’s Lockdown set to music, with proceeds donated to the domestic abuse charity Refuge Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, has joined forces with the actor...

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The best books and audiobooks of 2020 so far

Hilary Mantel’s trilogy was finished at last, Blake Gopnik exposed Warhol’s private life and Richard E Grant brought new life to Iris Murdoch. Here are our highlights of the year to date Continue...

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Poems to get us through: 'Hello mum!' from a loo high above London

In this week’s poetry choice by Carol Ann Duffy, a daughter uses a bathroom light to communicate with her mother 50 floors below and half a city away London-based Ella Duffy’s first pamphlet, New...

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Thanks for Marina Hyde, George Monbiot and Guardian letters | Brief letters

Cheering content at a difficult time | EE Cummings | Tennis etiquette | Uses for tights I have just lost my dear wife of 54 years to the cruel disease that is Alzheimer’s. Both I and my five adult...

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'Solace and healing': Ireland turns to poetry to ease lockdown strain

Social media is awash with quotes, poets read verses over the phone and households make banners of their favourite lines Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage More than 1,000...

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Poem of the week: Ambala by Shanta Acharya

Two young women’s deep-felt friendship begins at college before a struggle with traumatic injury is revealed Ambala She burst into my room dancing, humming,a force of nature, her dark skin gleaming,...

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How to write 1,000 poems in 1,000 days

From limericks about armed coups to haiku about football transfers, Nick Asbury reflects on his long project to write fast poetry on his phone For the past 1,000 days, I’ve been writing at least one...

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Michael McClure obituary

US writer who saw himself and his fellow Beat poets as the literary wing of the green movementMichael McClure was one of the six poets who took part in the reading on 7 October 1955 at the Six Gallery...

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Poems to get us through: 'I thought about drilling a hole in my head'

In this haunting work chosen by Carol Ann Duffy, the phases of the visiting moon trigger strange desires and inexplicable feelings in Ella Frears’ narrator There could not be a better time to support...

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'A joyful thing': the man who wrote his wife a poem every day for 25 years

Actor Peter Gordon wrote verse for his wife Alison for two decades, and has continued since she died. Now 87, his family has set up a website, A Love in Verse, to share his poetry Thirty years ago,...

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Scottish national poet Jackie Kay talks about racism she endured as a child

Scotland’s makar recalls being taunted and beaten up by older boys as an eight-year-old and reflects on a much-changed country One of Scotland’s most garlanded poets, Jackie Kay, has spoken out about...

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'I wanted to be a part of Buenos Aires – and Borges was my guide'

During the decade our writer lived in BA, he got to grips with its streets through the verse of Jorge Luis Borges – and is now revisiting the city via his poetry Lockdown has made me nostalgic – not...

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Sex, lies and despair: unseen letters reveal Larkin's tortured love

A cache of 2,400 letters between the poet and his long-time lover and muse, Monica Jones, charts an explosive and flawed romance “He lied to me, the bugger, but I loved him.” So Monica Jones described...

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Poem of the week: Godhuli Time by Srinivas Rayaprol

An anglophone Indian poet, mentored by William Carlos Williams in the US, considers an Indian sunset in a voice that spans centuries and continents Godhuli Time It is the cow-dust hourAnd smoke lies...

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