George Szirtes is the most consistent, prolific British poet. All his collections are challenging and rewarding. Bad Machine is more various, more versatile, and might take longer to get into. At the book's heart is an almost hallucinatory series about the fragility of reality, of life, of the body. The title poem is about discovering the body is a faulty machine. Like many others, it is aphoristic: "There's no machine that's not a bad machine". Elsewhere, we find "We're handfuls of dust breathing in dust" and "Life being ordinary is the extraordinary thing".
Like this page on Facebook for updates
Friday 28 October 2011
Friday 21 October 2011
To time-poor readers, poetry can seem to bear no weight at all; a passing fancy or (as John Burnside puts it here) a thin shadow, "something chill and slender in this world".
Sunday 04 September 2011
Sunday 14 August 2011
Monday 01 August 2011
Sunday 03 July 2011
Wednesday 01 June 2011
Sunday 27 February 2011
Sunday 10 October 2010
What is great about the Poems on the Underground project is that it doesn't demand high commitment from the reader. The poems are short, easy to read, and the range is so wide and eclectic that if you don't like or get one poem, you'll be likely to like or get the next. This latest edition to collect the 300 "best" poems used for the project captures that spirit perfectly.
Friday 11 June 2010
Forget this generous anthology's iffy title: it brings to mind the tick-box poetry-by-label one contributor – Tim Wells – gently mocks in "The 1980s are a Long Time Dead".
Friday 26 March 2010
Laureate duties for a while eclipsed Andrew Motion's subtle and shifting light as a poet of quietly elegiac passion. The title poem of his latest collection evokes a painting by Spencer Gore; of that symbolic track, Motion writes that "you might say death/ but I prefer taking/ pains with the world".
Monday 01 March 2010
She learnt her trade doing battle with rappers. Now Kate Tempest is going down a storm on the spoken-word circuit.
Sunday 21 February 2010
Pam Ayres' stated aim has always been to write "something with which the audience would identify", which tells us two things. First, these poems were never meant to be written down, but to be performed – and they do work better when one imagines Ayres reading them out. Second, that Ayres doesn't want to challenge her audience, or make them think again. She doesn't want to defamiliarise existence, but to familiarise it.
Sunday 28 June 2009
Peter Ackroyd has done the general reader a service with this Greatest Hits selection; a collection of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poems and 14 of his most memorable tales. The poems are light on meaning but strong on atmosphere and euphony. Poe's 19th-century American prose style can be tiresomely stodgy, but his peculiar morbid genius shines through. The title story is a brilliant evocation of psychological horror. I'm wondering now, as I wondered the first time I read it, what was actually in the pit?
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Bloody attack brings terror to capital’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 4 Eyewitness gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.