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Tennyson: To Strive, To Seek, To Find by John Batchelor – review

Alfred Tennyson's life has now been picked over enough. Better to revisit his greatest poem… It's sometimes hard to believe how famous Tennyson once was. As Mick Imlah has it in his wry and plangent...

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Ian Hamilton Finlay: the concrete poet as avant gardener

Finlay's garden Little Sparta is one of the wonders of 20th-century art. Now a collection of his artworks has been brought indoors at the Tate. James Campbell finds clarity and lyricism in the work of...

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The Saturday poem: Recalculating

By Paul Muldoon I Arthritis is to psoriasis as Portugal is to Brazil.Brazil is to wood as war club is to war.War is to wealth as performance is to appraisal.Appraisal is to destiny as urn is to ear....

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Valerie Eliot, keeper of the TS Eliot flame

Valerie Eliot, who died this week, devoted her life to guarding her husband's legacy. Did she do more harm than good? By Aida Edemariam IIn her subtle and authoritative 1998 book The Imperfect Life of...

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Secrets of TS Eliot's tragic first marriage and liaisons to be told at last

Following the death of the poet's widow, Valerie, a new biography has been mooted The true creative impact of the mental decline of TS Eliot's first wife, Vivienne, and the real nature of his abortive...

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Poem of the week: Puppet by Gillian Allnutt

The delicately-drawn 'memoir' of a marionette carries complex allegorical resonance This week's poem, "Puppet," is by Gillian Allnutt, winner of the Northern Rock Foundation Writers' award in 2005. It...

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Phonics could speak to children's knack for nonsense | Louise Schweitzer

The nonsense words in phonics tests, like those of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, can help children think laterally and creatively According to the UK Literary Association, pupils with fluent reading...

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Letter: 'I am TS Eliot's widow and I do not want anyone to know who I am,'...

Valerie Eliot once attended an Open University literature summer school I was running at the University of York. She was using her maiden name, so I did not know who the rather formally attired lady...

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Jack Gilbert obituary

Influential American poet who wrote compellingly about passion, loss and loneliness Jack Gilbert, who has died at 87, was both an outsider and a major figure in modern American poetry. Defiantly...

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Anne Evans obituary

Anne Evans, who wrote poetry under the pen name Ellie Evans, has died of pancreatic cancer aged 70. After a life mostly dedicated to others, this vivid, sharp, funny woman had just over a decade in...

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The Ninjas by Jane Yeh – review

Animal or human, robot or ghost? Quirky narrators intrigue Aingeal Clare Poetry so unsettling, describing worlds so troubling and lonely, is seldom as funny, clever, and downright charming as Jane...

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A life in writing: Gerard Woodward

'My earlier novels didn't work. I wasn't addressing what I needed to – my family' At the centre of Gerard Woodward's latest poetry collection, The Seacunny, is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon poems...

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Advent Concert, Landâf Cathedral

By Gillian Clarke First frost, November. World is steel,a ghost of goose down feathering the air.In the square, cars idle to their stalls, as cattleremembering their place in the affair.Headlamps...

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The Customs House by Andrew Motion – review

In love and in war, the former poet laureate teases and tantalises "The Customs House" – the title poem – is a tease with its suggestion of dues to be paid on "merchandise" and the last-minute...

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Poem of the week: Tichborne's Elegy by Chidiock Tichborne

Written just before its author's execution for treason, the potency of this poem has as much do with its language as its poignant context This week's poem, popularly known as "Tichborne's Elegy", was...

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John Broadbent obituary

English scholar and critic who re-evaluated the work of Milton As a teacher, John Broadbent, who has died aged 85, brought out the value of group approaches to understanding, imagination and...

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Movember moment for poetry contributor: From the archive, 28 November 1911

A regular Guardian poetry columnist has a Movember moment ["A fairly slim man, with clear-cut features and no hair upon his face except his eyebrows and eyelashes, can always wear with success any...

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Qatari poet jailed for life after writing verse inspired by Arab spring

Officials claim Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami's poem encouraged overthrow of Qatar's ruling system A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for an Arab-spring-inspired verse that officials...

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Christmas gifts 2012: the best poetry books

Adam Newey selects his favourite collections of the year For his fans, the appearance of a new collection from the poet almost universally described as the English language's greatest living...

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Fiona Shaw to perform Rime of the Ancient Mariner in London

Staged rendition of Coleridge's poem which debuted at Athens and Epidaurus festival will visit Old Vic Tunnels for 18 shows Fiona Shaw will collaborate with a dancer to perform Samuel Taylor...

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