Life and Style

The website that aims to let users 'annotate the world's text' has launched its first iPhone app following a spat with Google

DAILY POEM: Bluebottle Bella (for Isobel Neil)

Text of this poem cannot be included due to copyright.

DAILY POEM: Safe

Daily Poem: Safe By Hugo Williams Text of poem cannot be included for copyright reasons.

Letters : Initial thoughts on literary tradition

From Mr B. G. Sharp Sir: A pity Miles Kington blemished his otherwise witty review of Christmas books ("How to cook up caviar on a desert island with a pair of royal pains", 13 December) by referring to P. J. O'Rourke bringing back "the fashion for initials which we haven't known since H. G. Wells and T. S. Eliot. Wells died in 1946, Eliot in 1965. Since then, what about A. S. Byatt, P. D. James, V. S. Naipaul, R. K. Narayan, A. N. Wilson and P. G. Wodehouse?

POETRY ESSAY / The art of memory: Poetry enjoys a rising profile, but the poet Clive Wilmer wonders if standards are rising to match -and if aggressive marketing promotes immediacy at the expense of subtlety

A few years ago a friend of mine married a Frenchwoman. Announcing her engagement at work, the lady in question was asked about her future husband's attainments. 'He's a poet,' came the reply. 'Oh?' queried a young receptionist: 'They still exist?'

BOOK REVIEW / Getting verse all day: beware low-flying souls: Next Thursday, 6 October, is designated National Poetry Day. William Scammell considers the idea of a poetfest: a good way of promoting sales, or just a blizzard of hype in a talent-vacuum?

IT USED to be said that the quickest way to clear a room is not to shout 'Fire]' but 'Poetry reading'. This lowering view of those stricken by the muse has always been with us. Coleridge found his contemporaries 'a compost of nullity and dullity'. Randall Jarrell thought most of the stuff that came his way read as though it had been written by a typewriter on a typewriter. Myles nGopaleen's only solution to inadvertent contact with a versifier was to run screaming into the streets and tear off his face.

City & Business: A long time dying

REPORTS of the death of the Net Book Agreement have been greatly exaggerated. The restrictive practice, which prevents retailers discounting newly published books, has been about to expire for at least the last five years.

The Daily Poem: Extract from 'Dan Do Dheirdre'

For copyright reasons we are not able to provide the full text of the poem on this database. Following are the details of the publication in which it appears.

True Gripes: Whisper who dares: Has taxi chatter vanished forever

Where have all the chatty cabbies gone? Illusions I have held since childhood of rabbiting hackney carriage drivers from Ealing Studios films have been shattered because they are simply not talking any more.

GARDENING / A Poet's Garden: On a walk in Old possum's wood: Correction

To arrange a visit to the garden at Burnt Norton, T S Eliot's inspiration (Sunday Review 29 May), please ring John Izod on 0386 840162 and not on the number published.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Where words fail: Bayan Northcott reflects on the ambiguities behind a new anthology of (nearly) all the non-operatic texts set by Benjamin Britten: Benjamin Britten's Poets - edited by Boris Ford: Carcanet, pounds 25

The surprise is that nobody had thought of it before. Seventeen years after Britten's death, the literature around his life and work has already swelled to vast proportions. The libretti of his operas, for instance, were long since gathered into a single volume with a penetrating preface from Hans Keller. Yet only now has the huge array of non-operatic texts Britten set been collected as an anthology, entitled Benjamin Britten's Poets, edited by Boris Ford and scheduled for publication by the Poetry Press, Carcanet, on 9 June.

MUSIC / Always good for a quote: Nicholas Williams on the many voices of Berio and T S Eliot

Don't quote me on it, but any write-up of a week that included Berio's multi-referential Sinfonia and Eliot's The Waste Land was likely to begin with an allusion.

T S Eliot: the sequel: First that film, now this Waste Land opera based on a comic. No wonder lawyers acting for the Eliot estate are so busy

May is the cruellest month. At least, pedantic admirers of T S Eliot could be forgiven for thinking so, since the blow they took to their collective solar plexus in April, with the cinema release of Tom & Viv, is about to be followed up by a knockout punch to their corporate jaw - the premiere of an unconventional (to put it soothingly) opera version of The Waste Land. This particular Waste Land begins with an assassin's bullet in the night and ends with the gibberish of a drunken old dame and the Bourbon-steeped stoicism of a cheap private detective, name of Chris Marlowe: 'And maybe it was just tough that life isn't like that. Not in this town. On five dollars a day. Plus expenses.' Whatever happened to the Upanishads?

Right of reply / Tom and Viv: the story of TS Eliot and his first wife. Rubbish] says his second. Unfair] says Brian Gilbert

Tom and Viv sets out to film the relationship of TS Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood, their marriage and her confinement to a mental institution. The film prompted a rare interview with Valerie Eliot, in the Independent on Sunday, in which the poet's second wife dismissed the film as being woefully inaccurate. Brian Gilbert, the director, thinks otherwise:

The two Mrs Eliots: Since the death of T S Eliot in 1965, his second wife, Valerie, has been an exemplary literary widow, fiercely guarding her husband's estate and turning the editing of his letters into her life's work. She rarely gives interviews. But the release of Tom & Viv, a glossy film about Eliot and his first wife Vivienne, has prompted her to talk

RECLUSIVE. Gregarious. Obstructive. Vivacious. Calm. Incandescent. The adjectives commonly used about Valerie Eliot can't help but arouse curiosity. Can one person possibly be all these things at the same time, or even at different times? It seems unlikely, but in any case they are not the adjectives that come to mind as Valerie Eliot enters the penthouse boardroom of Faber & Faber's offices in Queen Square. Anxious would be nearer the mark, jumpy, apprehensive. Her nerves are bad today: newspapers have been putting her under increasing pressure to talk - 'Speak . . . Why do you never speak. Speak' - and finally, with gentle encouragement from her publishers, she has agreed to an interview. 'I feel sick,' she says, as John Bodley (who, a fellow Faber editor once teasingly wrote, 'earns his salary / by looking after Valerie') ushers her into a seat and pours her a calming glass of red wine.

What Val has to say about Tom and Viv

VALERIE ELIOT, the widow of the poet T S Eliot, today speaks out for the first time against the portrayal of her husband in the film Tom & Viv, writes Blake Morrison.
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