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Oulipo: freeing literature by tightening its rules

By imposing multiple restrictions on the processes of writing, this group of French writers seek to find what literature might be, rather than what it is You might think Raymond Queneau was guilty of...

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Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer – review

The letters that passed between two great poets over 25 years are essential reading for anyone interested in making poetry At first glance the friendship between Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer,...

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The Machine/The Masque of Anarchy – review

Campfield Market Hall/Albert Hall, Manchester International festival★★★/★★★★★ Like all the best festivals, the one in Manchester opens up the city. But while Alex Poots, the festival's director, says...

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Poem of the week: Elegy by Sidney Keyes

Candid and unsentimental, the teenage poet's tribute to his departed grandfather is striking in its originality Sidney Keyes was a few weeks old when his mother died of peritonitis, and his father,...

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Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and ST Coleridge, edited by Fiona...

It may be the scourge of students, but a collection that deserves to be thought of as poetry's punk moment is pure pleasure second time round Having had a child recently go through A-level English, my...

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In defence of mumbling: there's a poetry in our quietness | Laura Barton

The BBC's Tony Hall has got it wrong. The world has got too loud, but I sense the whisper of a quiet revolution Everything seems loud these days. Ringtones, radios, car horns. Bus passengers bellowing...

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The top 10 literary works about ancestors

Philip Larkin blamed them for everything while Darwin took the longer view. Novelist Daisy Hildyard chooses the best poems, books and plays about our human inheritance I was thinking about ancestors...

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William Blake's cottage up for sale for first time in 85 years

For a mere £650,000 you can own the Grade II cottage in west Sussex where the writer and artist worked on his poem Milton The west Sussex cottage that William Blake lived in from 1800 to 1803, when he...

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Letter: The girls of West Suffolk county grammar fell under Oliver Bernard's...

I had the good fortune to attend the West Suffolk county grammar school for girls in Bury St Edmunds in the 1960s when Oliver Bernard joined the staff. Those of us studying English and drama had...

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Q&A: John Cooper Clarke

'Being unapologetic means never having to say you're sorry' John Cooper Clarke, 64, grew up in Salford. He worked as a lab technician before becoming a performance poet and touring with the Sex...

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The Divine Comedy by Dante, translated by Clive James – review

Clive James's translation of Dante is an impressive feat Poets can't help themselves from translating Dante, even if they are only going to do small chunks, as Byron did, having a stab at Francesca of...

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Poem of the week: Actaeon by George Szirtes

A version of the Greek myth, refocused through the eyes of an ageing 21st-century man, retells the story suggestively slant From Victorian times at least, women writers have been retelling classical...

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Let's seek inspiration from Dorothy Parker – and revive the salon | Christina...

When members of the Algonquin Round Table had soirees they didn't have 'outcomes' in mind. They wanted an argument On Thursday night I hosted a salon. If that sounds a bit pretentious, I'm afraid it...

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Hannah Lowe's top poetry writing tips

Forward prize-shortlisted poet Hannah Lowe, who will be judging this year's Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition, offers her top tips to young poetry writers 1. Read! Read lots of different...

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Poetry Lines at London's Southbank Centre – audio slideshow

London's South Bank is filled with poetry representing each of London's 33 boroughs this summer. Imtiaz Dharker and Cheryl Moskowitz read poems inspired by the City of London and Wandsworth David...

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Mind by Michael Rosen

The former children's laureate responds in verse to the fresh prince I don't mind waitingI do mind being told I'm waitingI don't mind good newsI do mind being told which news is goodI don't mind being...

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The poet laureate's on holiday – can you write a poem fit for a prince?

In the absence of an official poem from Carol Ann Duffy, please mark the new royal arrival with a poem of your own Cheering crowds, waving flags, commemorative crockery– all that's missing to mark the...

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Summer voyages: In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas

Written just before the first world war, this vivid account of a journey through the English countryside is a vivid and poignant portrait of a vanished age In Pursuit of Spring is the classic literary...

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What is Patricia Lockwood's poem Rape Joke really saying?

The New York poet's verse, which has gone viral, is an oblique mini-masterpiece. But is it an attack on rape jokes – or about something entirely different? Wow. Patricia Lockwood is damn clever. With...

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The Professor of Poetry by Grace McCleen – review

Grace McCleen's second novel is a deft campus romance between an aloof poetry professor and her one-time mentor Professor Elizabeth Stone, the heroine of Grace McCleen's incandescent second novel, is...

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