The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems, By Peter Porter

The late Peter Porter, as selector Sean O'Brien puts in his preface to this generous choice from 19 volumes and half-a-century of wonderfully singular poetry, broke all the rules that Kingsley Amis once set about forbidden topics for verse. Shamelessly, he wrote not just about "other poems and paintings and foreign cities and museums", but operas and sonatas, philosophers and cathedrals, generals and gods; even, in "The Apprentice's Sorceror", of the CERN particle accelerator primed in its "Swiss Hole" to recreate "how the universe began". With shocking Australian cheek, he sauntered into every minefield for a timidly populist age and came back with treasure to be enjoyed by any reader with a nose for new discoveries, an eye for bold connections and an ear for the ever-flexible music of his verse. Yet it's typical that his landmark poem about a cultural icon should address itself not to a painter or thinker but a stuffed animal: the racehorse Phar Lap in the Melbourne Museum, the beastly idol who followed a Classical recipe for greatness: "To live in strength, to excel and die too soon".

Chambers scorches to championship record

Dwain Chambers clocked a championship record 9.99 seconds to win the men's 100 metres at the European Team Championship in Bergen on Saturday. The sprinter held off the Frenchman, Christophe Lemaître, who finished second in 10.02 seconds, and Italy's Emanuele Di Gregorio, third in 10.20, to help Britain into second place in the competition.

Semenya to get gender results today

Caster Semenya is expected to finally learn whether she can resume her athletics career when South Africa's Minister of Sport and Recreation hosts a press conference in Johannesburg today.

Athletics: Ennis's hope of British record washed out but victory proves sweet

Like Neil Finn and Crowded House, Jessica Ennis is on tour in Europe. Unfortunately for the Sheffield heptathlete, she has not brought the weather with her.

Ennis proves she's the big shot now

Sheffield's finest peaks in the Alps and is poised to join an illustrious list of winners today

Dom Joly: You have to dig deep to fall this far

Just back from the annual ordeal that is school sports day. I'm being unfair in some ways: my kids' school is beautiful – lovely grounds, happy children. The problem, as ever, is me, because I suffer from overly competitive parent syndrome.

Ennis in shape to emulate greats

They have been holding the Hypo-Meeting, the annual gathering of the world's best all-round athletes here in this quiet Austrian border town, for 35 years now.

Dom Joly: Jump to it for 2012 'easy' Olympics

Wrestling is for big men who don’t want to be bouncers. Isn't it simply a bar brawl in tights?

Ennis withdraws from Grand Prix to save herself for Doha

While Jessica Ennis has withdrawn from tomorrow's Grand Prix in Birmingham to recover fully from a foot problem in time for the World Indoor Championships next month, a question mark has suddenly emerged about whether Great Britain's other reigning outdoor world champion will be going for gold in Doha next month.

Ennis stuns world champion

Heptathlete ends hurdles specialist's two-year unbeaten run as GB win contest

Jessica Ennis: I'm sitting pretty so I hope Kluft never comes back!

Golden girl had a golden year – culminating in world heptathlon glory – and has begun 2010 with a bang, so she can't wait to captain GB at the start of the indoor season next week. Simon Turnbull speaks to Jessica Ennis

Marion Jones' Sydney medals to be reallocated

Marion Jones' Sydney Olympic individual sprint and long jump medals will be reallocated this week but her 100m gold will not be given to Greece's Katerina Thanou due to her own involvement in doping.

Bolt puts the writing on wall for long jump world record

It was the best of times; it was the wurst of times. OK, so the German cuisine has been nothing about which to write home, but the fare served up over the nine days of the World Championships here has been something to truly savour.

Rutherford fails to make leap to podium

The British athletics team went into the World Championship arena eight days ago with Charles van Commenee, the head coach, telling his 60-strong squad of runners, jumpers and throwers that he wanted to hear "no excuses." "I've told them I don't expect them to use the words injury, pain or niggle," the straight-talking Dutch- man said.

Rutherford ready to strike gold

New British long jump record holder aims to prove he was right not to become a footballer
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George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

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Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

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Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

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Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

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Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

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