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Egypt's 'poet of the people' Ahmed Fouad Negm dies at 84

Satirical poet's unvarnished reflections on Egyptian life inspired generations of young to push for change, including 2011 uprising Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm has died. He was 84. Negm died in the...

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Daniel Weissbort obituary

Translator and poet who founded Modern Poetry in Translation and brought the work of eastern European poets to the west Daniel Weissbort, who has died aged 78, was the founder with Ted Hughes of...

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Iain Sinclair and Ray Davies: beats in common

Both as engaged with Americana as London mythology, this unlikely pair have walked surprisingly similar paths In 1969, the year the writer Iain Sinclair bought a near-condemned house in Hackney,...

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Letter: Amarjit Chandan on Daniel Weissbort's Indian ink

I came to know Daniel Weissbort closely when Modern Poetry in Translation's Mother Tongues issue came out in 2001. We attended the launch in London and Cambridge – he as introducer, myself as reader....

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Poster poems: heroes

As we mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, our attention turns to inspirational figures of all stripe. Your boldest, bravest work, please After our foray into villainy last month I thought it might be a...

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Poem: Decorating the Tree, written for London's Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

Read Decorating the Tree, a poem written by children, poets and Kevin Crossley-Holland to celebrate the lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London Every year since 1947 Norway's capital...

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The best poetry of 2013

From Fleur Adcock's Glass Wings to Train Songs edited by Sean O'Brien and Don Paterson, Adam Newey rounds up the best poetry of the year The poetic year was sharply punctuated by the death of Seamus...

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Poem of the week: Free Fall by Thomas Kinsella

An expressly late poem, this is a dreamlike and oddly peaceful contemplation of last things Born in 1928, Thomas Kinsella has significantly helped shape the course of poetry in Ireland, and beyond....

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Danish rap poet Yahya Hassan faces racism charge for knocking Muslims

The 18-year-old has been attacked, and Denmark plunged into a free speech row over his poems fiercely targeting what he sees as hypocrisy among fellow Muslims A young Danish Palestinian rapper and...

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Six Bad Poets by Christopher Reid – review

Ben Wilkinson is engrossed by a satire of the literary scene A farce-in-verse about the japes of a bunch of hapless poetasters might not sound like the most gift-worthy of reads. Yet Christopher...

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Carol Ann Duffy writes poem for Royal Philharmonic Society's bicentenary

Poet laureate celebrates 200 years of society that commissioned Beethoven's 9th with ode titled Philharmonic Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem to celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic...

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Seamus Heaney remembered by Polly Devlin

The sister-in-law of the great Irish poet and Nobel laureate recalls his fine-grained intelligence, his generosity, humour – and the time he rustled up a perfect poem on demand• See the Observer's...

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Patrick Kavanagh's Advent: unifying the miraculous with the banal

The Irish author's awkwardly beautiful Christmas poem plays with shape and rhyme in unexpected ways At first you could almost imagine that the speaker in this week's poem, Advent by Patrick Kavanagh,...

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Letter: Daniel Weissbort's Poetry of Survival

Sasha Dugdale rightly pinpoints Daniel Weissbort's talents as an anthologist. Among the best must be The Poetry of Survival (Anvil Press, 1991). Sub-titled Post-War Poets of Central and Eastern...

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Literary Christmas presents: Tony Birch on The Blue Plateau

We asked Australian authors to choose a book as a gift and say who they would present it to. Here Tony Birch wraps up The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir Bethanie Blanchard

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The rules regarding words, and a word regarding rules

From Snoop to Shakespeare, the tricks of rhetoric serve playwrights, singers, politicians and evangelists equally well. That is cause for celebration, not snobbery What do Snoop Dogg and Bruce Forsyth...

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Syed Mohammad Amir Imam obituary

My father, Syed Mohammad Amir Imam, who has died aged 85, was a writer with the nom de plume Hurr (meaning "free"). He wrote poetry and prose in Urdu, his native tongue, as well as English, Persian...

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Musa Okwonga's ode to 150 years of the FA: This is Football – video

To commemorate the FA's 150th anniversary year, it commissioned poet and sports writer Musa Okwonga to produce a tribute to the beautiful game

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Vikram Seth: India's gay sex ban is against our tradition of tolerance

'Incensed' author says Indian supreme court reinstatement of law curtailing LGBT rights is an attack on millions of people Vikram Seth, the best-selling novelist and poet, has launched a fierce attack...

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Christmas poems and stories – books podcast

As a special Christmas treat – and a thank you to all our listeners – we've teamed up with the British Library to select seasonal scenes from some of the world's greatest literature. Simon Callow and...

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