Arts and Entertainment

I wish I could give this sublime marrying of the art and the life 10 stars. This is very much a writer’s biography, and an absolutely gorgeous demonstration of how to frame a narrative begins, appropriately enough, with the framing by Gorra of the author, Henry James: “Many years later he would remember the way the book had begun. He was old then, and in England ....” It’s a description that mirrors beautifully the framing by James himself of the entrance of his great heroine, Isabel Archer, in The Portrait of a Lady, as “the girl in the doorway”.

William Blake: Tortured visions

Michael Glover takes a close look at the William Blake etchings purchased by the Tate this week

So Bright and Delicate, By John Keats

Following the opening earlier this month of Bright Star, Jane Campion's film about the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne, Penguin has clearly decided to target young, love-sick girls, which inevitably means lots of flowers on the cover of this collection of letters and poems from Keats to his neighbour. Yet I'm not sure those girls will find what they're looking for in this book: the bulk is about the misery and pain of the reality of love, not its joys.

'Shrine' set up for doomed postbox

A doomed postbox due to be removed by Royal Mail has been turned into a shrine by Bristol residents mourning its impending loss.

Star gazing: The skies in March

'O Moon, when I gaze on your beautiful face, careering along through the boundaries of space... the thought has often come into my mind... if ever I shall see thy glorious behind'.

A Night Out with Robert Burns: The greatest poems, ed Andrew O'Hagan

In his introduction to "A Man's a man for a' that", Andrew O'Hagan proclaims Burns "the world's greatest and most loveable poet". You could make a case for the latter adjective, but not, I submit, the former. At all. However, these are fighting words for a fighting poet.

Forward Book of Poetry 2009

Every year the Forward anthology, drawn from poems shortlisted or highly commended for its prizes, supplies a face-saving one-stop catch-up for readers who feel they ought to read more current poetry, but ... The judges, chaired this year by Frieda Hughes, reliably deliver on two fronts. They present strong new work from the names you should know: respect to (among others) Mick Imlah, Sujata Bhatt, Jamie McKendrick, Mimi Khalvati. And Ciaran Carson – Nina Ricci owes him a generous tribute for "L'Air du Temps" from his future-classic narrative, For All We Know. The volume also opens doors to discovery. My month is brighter thanks to Tim Turnbull's "Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn". Would Keats have approved this pimping of his Grecian ride to "the joyful throb of UK garage or/ Of house imported from the continent"? You bet.

The Write Stuff, Radio 4<br/>The Archers, Radio 4

Photogenic literary types wanted for erudite quiz

Why poetry still matters, by Boyd Tonkin

From Beowulf to Philip Larkin, poetry's past haunts its present. Below, Andrew Motion, Bonnie Greer, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Culture Secretary on the poems that changed their lives

Leading article: To the back of the class

Last week the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that coursework was to be cut from GCSE maths. Yesterday the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said it should be dropped from a host of arts subjects too. The wind is blowing against coursework, just as fiercely as it once blew in its favour. Not that the arguments have changed much over the years.

Why Truth Matters by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom

The truth? You can handle the truth

Party in the Blitz by Elias Canetti, trs Michael Hofmann

The monsters that stalked Hampstead
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Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
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A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
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Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
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Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
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Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
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'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam