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”.

Beware patriots and purple prophylactics

As the late Sir John Betjeman might have written:

Rattle of a Simple Man, Comedy Theatre, London

The programme notes for Rattle of a Simple Man quote Philip Larkin's poem "Annus Mirabilis" - "Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three / (Which was rather late for me)..."

Never mind the bus pass, where do I park my bike?

Giving up work doesn't have to mean giving up on life. Developers are working overtime to match the changing expectations of last-time buyers

Phil Bowen: Generosity and power in poetry

From a talk by the playwright at the Dylan Thomas 50th Anniversary Festival in Swansea

Maeve Brennan

Librarian whose romance with Philip Larkin won her an unusual niche in 20th-century literary life

Bold Eriksson replaces doubt with expectation

Victory over Turkey has eased pressure on England coach but captain's failure to keep his head still raises questions

The Invention of Dr Cake, by Andrew Motion

Jonathan Bate is moved by the beauty and truth of Keats reimagined

Toast the Immortal Memory in style

Larkin with women, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Too much Larkin around

Books: Not a recluse in the pub

Poems by J H Prynne Bloodaxe pounds 12

The Sunday Poem No 35: Thom Gunn

Every week Ruth Padel discusses a contemporary poet through an example of their work. No 35 Thom Gunn

Words; aestivate, v.

"SUMMERTIME AND the cotton is high." Du Bose Heyward did not pun in his lyric for George Gershwin's song, but it comes to mind as such amid the matted T-shirts on outstretched limbs in London's ramshackle Tube. One longs to aestivate; that is, to spend the summer in suspended animation - from Latin for summer, the equivalent of hibernation. As Bacon wrote, with an alternative spelling, "a grotto is a place of shade, of estivation".
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