Arts and Entertainment The loss of happiness: Giacomo Leopardi

This extraordinary 'mish-mash' opens up the creative workshop of Italy's great Romantic poet

Classical Review: Mr Preview celebrates in style

LSO/ANDRE PREVIN BARBICAN LONDON

Britten's spring awakening

Neither symphony nor song-cycle, Benjamin Britten's most idiosyncratic achievement is a major landmark.

Classical: In league with the prince of darkness

STRAVINSKY SERIES

Does modern Britain really need a Poet Laureate?

THE RATE for the job was fixed in 1692 at pounds 100 per year. No one has managed a pay rise since. In the lists of the Royal Household, it features alongside the Swan Marker, the Bargemaster, and the Keeper of the Royal Stamp Collection. It has a cast-iron record for inspiring duff ceremonial verse from major poets - when, by chance or design, major poets happen to win the post.

Obituary: T. Arfon Williams

IF WELSH poetry is a closed book to most English readers, with but a few honourable exceptions, it is not only because the poet in Wales has had a function different from that of his counterpart in England but also because for the last thousand years Welsh poetry has been written in a prosody so complex that John Cowper Powys was once prompted to remark that the people among whom he had made his home were "the most conservative, the most introverted, the most mysterious nation that has ever existed outside China".

'Kirchstetten, receive an honoured guest'

WH Auden died 25 years ago this week. In Britain we hardly noticed. But in Austria they paid their respects. By Simon O'Hagan

Obituary: Iain Crichton Smith

WHEN BBC Scotland TV lunchtime news, after dire remarks about the national football team's latest performance, came up with a well-compiled tribute to Iain Crichton Smith, one didn't know whether to laugh or cry. There he was, the portentously but deceptively rueful downturn of the mouth, the especially complete and candid baldness, but craggier than one remembered somehow, turning into a monument. But, as the rather strange phrase has it, there was "no side" to him.

Words: analeptic, adj. or n.

STRANGE THE way that the mind works. Some of us cannot hear the pop of the cork being released from a bottle without the word analeptic springing to mind. Such is poetry.

Literary Notes: Politics in a different conceptual context

EXPECTING AUDEN to be a kind of political poet has sometimes confounded his readers, who find they have to search quite hard for direct comments on public events. Can it be that the poet who by his own admission barely opened a newspaper until he was 23 was, after all, someone to whom general ideas remained more attractive than particular ones; private mental events taking precedence over public ones? No indeed, but his trick is to put the political into a different conceptual context altogether, in order to make us really think about it.

D H Lawrence must stay in US, say family

Rachelle Thackray on a row over repatriating the author's ashes

Choice: Talk

A Celebration of Kenneth Patchen, Tate Gallery, SW1 (0171-887 8922) 6.30pm

Choice: Opera: Paul Bunyan, Shaftesbury Theatre

Paul Bunyan, Shaftesbury Theatre, London

Theatre: Housman: a very private lad

Tom Stoppard's new play pries deep into the life of AE Housman, secretive author of A Shropshire Lad. It could be the making of the poet's reputation, writes Michael Glover

Diana - The Last Farewell: In search of a fitting elegy for `a private face in a public place'

As the banks of flowers have risen outside the palace gates, another kind of tribute has been mounting on my desk all week. Any glance at the memorial columns of a local paper will prove that, whatever their background, people will still turn to poetry to express their deepest, most troubling feelings.

Vice and verse

Richard D North, gets caught in the crossfire of poetry and petunias in Ledbury
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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

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From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

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'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
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Songs from the bell jar

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End of the Aussie brain drain

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Can meditation be bad for you?

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