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Poem of the week: Christmas (I) by George Herbert

Worldly hospitality becomes an image of divine benevolence in a 17th-century sonnet that will resonate with exhausted December shoppersThis week, the first of George Herbert’s pair of Christmas poems,...

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Radwa Ashour obituary

Courageous Egyptian writer, academic and translator known for her Granada trilogyRadwa Ashour was a powerful voice among Egyptian writers of the postwar generation and a writer of exceptional integrity...

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Poets' holiday greetings cards: an intimate glimpse into genius

How did Charles Bukowski wish friends and family a merry Christmas? A new exhibition reveals not just legendary poets’ softer side but the stages of their lives One year, Langston Hughes’s Christmas...

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Long-lost Dylan Thomas notebook heads to Wales after auction

Swansea university bids £85,000 for notebook containing drafts of some of Thomas’s most challenging poemsA lost notebook containing drafts of some of Dylan Thomas’s most challenging poems is to remain...

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A (redacted) poem for the torture report | Brian Turner

What an Iraq combat veteran turned poet feels when he reads the partial truth about the CIA TOP SECRET //████████// NOFORN What are we to do after the white noise,after the wallings, the rough...

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Seamus Heaney, New Selected Poems 1966–1987 and New Selected Poems, 1988–2013...

Following his death last year, two selections of work from Heaney’s entire career offer an opportunity for reassessment and celebrationThe atmosphere of grief and reverence that followed the death of...

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Wendy Cope: ‘My secret love is Strictly Come Dancing’

The poet, 69, on being a late starter, what she owes psychoanalysis and why giving up smoking is so difficult Word of mouth is the most important thing that sells books, but you need a few mouths to...

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The best children’s poetry books this Christmas

From comic collections to classics, and even some Christmas-free selections for unfestive relief, here are our picks of the best holiday rhymes The best picture books for children this Christmas The...

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‘I’m from a community that doesn’t often get to represent themselves’

George the Poet looks back on negotiating his place as a young black male in a predominately white grammar school, to rise as a spoken-word star When George Mpanga was in year 7, a teacher got his...

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Letter: Jon Stallworthy obituary

On reading Jon Stallworthy’s obituary, it occurred to me, as friend and literary executor of the poet Henry Reed, how much it would have amused Reed that the confusion between his name and that of the...

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Poem of the week: Bodies by Miriam Gamble

An aspect of a horse’s training provides some unsettling analogies with the powers that humans learn to accept Miriam Gamble’s new collection, Pirate Music, extends her interrogation of human-animal...

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Reading the tea leaves – literature's best brews

We celebrate international tea day with a round up of some of the finest beverages in books. But what have we missed? Give us your favourite fictional cuppas below “Under certain circumstances,”...

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Beowulf poem to be turned into ITV drama

13-part series set in Britain’s mythic past will deliver ‘epic fights, thrilling chases, celebrations and battles’, promises broadcasterThe epic poem Beowulf is to be made into a 13-part drama by ITV....

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Dear Chelsea Manning: birthday messages from Edward Snowden, Terry Gilliam...

The jailed whistleblower turns 27 this week. Supporters including Joe Sacco, Vivienne Westwood, JM Coetzee, Michael Stipe and Slavoj Žižek sent her letters, poems and drawings. Luke Harding introduces...

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Imtiaz Dharker awarded Queen’s gold medal for poetry

Carol Ann Duffy praises Pakistan-born British poet for her ‘unique perspective in the diversity of English-language poetry’The Pakistan-born British poet Imtiaz Dharker has been awarded the Queen’s...

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Weatherwatch: Log fires, wine and snow – a Venetian poet’s relish

The year is 1537 and it is July but the Venetian poet and satirist Pietro Aretino is thinking about the winter. Not for him the summer heat. “I am happier when I see the snow falling from the sky than...

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The 10 best Christmases in literature

From a charming scene in War and Peace to Kingsley Amis’s depiction of a ghastly crew of septuagenarians, the best Christmases in literature • Christmas in books quiz War and Peace Leo Tolstoy, 1869...

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Dorothy Wordsworth’s Christmas Birthday

A Christmas poem by Carol Ann DuffyFIRST, FROST at midnight –Moon, Venus and Jupiternamed in their places. Ice, like a cold key,turning its lock on the lake;nervous stars trapped there. Continue...

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Poem of the week: Sketches from Edgewater by Ed Dorn

This late poem by the great American documentary poet finds the human spirit singing at the supermarket checkout It’s virtually impossible to sum up a poet’s work with a single poem. When the poet in...

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The top 10 winters in literature

Ghost stories by the fireside and perilous journeys in the snow: from Emily Dickinson to Raymond Briggs, great writing that gets to the heart of the coldest season Winter is the night-time of the...

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