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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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before