From the courtroom, during that historic speech, you “could hear the police dogs baying outside in the square” where two lines of police were “barring the large crowds singing in support of their heroes”.
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Thursday 07 October 2010
The Irish poet Seamus Heaney won the Forward Poetry Prize last night, having been a runner-up on two previous occasions.
Friday 01 October 2010
Sunday 12 September 2010
Sunday 15 August 2010
This superb collection of short stories, memoir, artwork and poetry, loosely connected to the theme of "going back", includes contributions by Seamus Heaney and Joseph O'Neill, letters by Iris Murdoch and a recollection of his uncle's farm by Mark Twain. About as eclectic as you can get, then – but that doesn't mean unfocused.
Monday 05 July 2010
Saturday 19 June 2010
There were no blazing rows this time. After months of speculation and public controversy, Geoffrey Hill has been elected to the Oxford Professorship of Poetry – generally regarded as the most prestigious position in the poetry world after the Laureateship – by a landslide 1,156 votes. He fills a gap in the university’s teaching hierarchy left by the resignation of Ruth Padel last May.
Friday 02 April 2010
"The perpetual ideal is astonishment": Derek Walcott sees no point in aiming for anything less than great poetry, and he has certainly achieved it. The penalty he has sometimes paid lies in being tempted to grandiloquence in the effort to ignite the charge of imagination and feeling which makes his best work (for instance "The Schooner Flight") so compelling and authoritative. Published in poet's 80th year, White Egrets contains work of both kinds. The best is remarkable, with passages as good as anything he has written.
Wednesday 27 January 2010
In a culture warier than ever of poetry in public places, it looks as if elegies can still take you through the grandest entrances. During the late 1990s, the Whitbread book of the year award (forerunner of the Costas, before beer gave way to coffee) went four times in succession to volumes of verse: two by Seamus Heaney, two by Ted Hughes.
Wednesday 27 January 2010
Friday 22 January 2010
I am, alas, to all intents and purposes, and to my eternal shame, an utterly uneducated, ignorant monoglot. I barely even speak English: I speak Essex. In my mind I sound like Daniel Barenboim delivering the Reith Lectures, or Garrison Keillor, rolling on with another Prairie Home Companion, or Seamus Heaney reciting, or Robin Lustig on the World Service, or WH Auden at the Royal Festival Hall sometime in the late 1960s. But when I speak, I sound like Joe Pasquale. I crush the language.
Friday 18 December 2009
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
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- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police