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Could this have been an act of sabotage by the outraged burghers of bucolic Stedham, deep in the Sussex countryside?

Books: Poetry anthologies

Who reads poetry? 0.03 per cent of the population, according to research quoted by As the Poet Said: pickings and choosings (edited by Tony Curtis; Poetry Ireland Press, distributed by the Poetry Society, pounds 6.99), a must for all poets and the poor sods who live with them; which includes most of us, one way and another. ("People in the West don't know I'm a poet" - Colonel Gaddafi.) Its apercus will brighten any reviewer's desk. All quotations here come from its cheeky pages.

Prize poet takes the rap

Ted Hughes, Britain's most prestigious poet, could find himself competing against rap artists at next year's poetry "Oscars" following the success of Jamie McKendrick, a rival poet, who won pounds 10,000 for his collection The Marble Fly at last night's Forward poetry awards.

Books: Lines on the brain

This Thursday, 9 October, is National Poetry Day. Around the country there will be events prize-giving and readings publishers are busy putting out the best of old and new BY HEART: 101 Poems to Remember by Ted Hughes, Faber pounds 7.99 OLD CHESTNUTS WARMED UP

Books: Independent choice: First novels

Like Ted Hughes's hawk, the eponymous hero of Mark Fyfe's Asher (Marion Boyars, pounds 11.95) has no sophistry in his body and his manners are tearing off heads. Asher is a ruthlessly intelligent, sex and drugs-driven 18-year-old. He has no humanity - or thinks he hasn't. He coldly manipulates everyone he knows. "The disposability of life" is his dismissive phrase. His charm, skilfully simulated as a means to various ends, is all the more chilling because we are privy to its falsity. The calculated seduction of Jenny is as foul as anything in Les Liaisons Dangerouses; the killing fantasies are very nasty.

There goes rhymin' Simon: Interview: Simon Armitage

Bit of a lad, was Armitage, well before `Loaded'... And eight years after he first shot to fame, he still manages to remain a Nice Ordinary Bloke - as well as Our Best Young Poet (even at 34)

Diana - The Aftermath: Poem for a lost princess

Ted Hughes, the Poet Laureate, has penned a short poem to mark the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Pick Of The Year

Books

POEMS FOR YOUR PENCIL CASE

Fifteen years ago, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney compiled their highly successful anthology The Rattle Bag. Their follow-up, The School Bag, is 'less of a carnival, more like a checklist'. Will it too be a winner?

there was a hungry young poet ...

The Poetry Place's fancy food and celebrity patrons will ensure that today's budding bards won't starve, reports Matthew Sweet

'Dirge-like' anthem hitting the wrong note

If the Fabian Society has its way, Britain will kiss goodbye to the "dirge-like tune" that is its national anthem and march into the next century singing a stirring song by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

BOOKS FICTION/POETRY: From hard knocks to bardic rituals

SELECTED POEMS by W S Graham, Faber pounds 9.99

BOOKS: FLIGHT OF AN ENCHANTER

Early promise, late excuses. Two hundred years on, Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 'the model for all writers who can't deliver' - is revived for our age by three new books

33 years on, a new book by Sylvia Plath

THIRTY-three years after her suicide, Sylvia Plath's publishers are trumpeting a "new" book by the controversial poet. The It Doesn't Matter Suit, a children's story found among the poet's papers at the Lilly Library in Indiana University, has created a buzz of excitement among publishers around the world.

FOR YOUR MINCE PIES ONLY

Like everyone else we've been trying to ignore the growing heaps of tinsel and novelties in the shops ... Yes, Christmas lurks. But despair not, for here are two little publications to make pressie-buying easier. The Booksellers Association is distributing 2.5 million copies of their Books for Giving through bookshops and letter-boxes. Their rallying-cry is "Buy a gift for life - buy a book" (with today's bindings? Are they joking?). And a worthy, middle-of-the-road selection it is too. In fiction Brian Moore, Pat Barker, and Iris Murdoch rub up against Ken Follett, Anne Rice, Dick Francis and Iain Banks (the precis of Whit neatly gives a chunk of the plot away) and Amis, M is dumped yet again for the "deliciously wicked"Amis, K.
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