words on the page
Archive Hour: The Larkin Tapes, BBC Radio 4, 1 March 2008
The poems recorded are from the more romantic,
life affirming end of the Larkin spectrum. An inordinate number of people
know him only as the poet who wrote that your mum and dad fuck you up.
Probably an equal number know him only as the poet who said that deprivation
was to him what daffodils were for Wordsworth.
steely progression of entropy
Los Alamos Mon Amour, by Simon Barraclough
This collection was born in the first nuclear
test in 1945, and, according to Barraclough, life has been a string
of explosions ever since. Culture is fissile stuff, and with every watershed
it gets blasted into smaller and still more disparate fragments. We
can try to make sense of the pieces or embrace the swirling madness.
by David Caddy
The book is very much set up as a one which is
trying to say something. There are six separate epigraphs, which suggests
Caddy is trying to tell us something. Invoking the names of Coleridge,
Donne and the Renaissance alchemists John Dee and Robert Fludd is trying
to say something. What?
our coverage of the Forward Poetry Prize, and discussions on poetry
at the Culture Wars forum and Battle of Ideas festival in London, Culture
Wars is soliciting further articles about contemporary poetry and its
place in the broader culture, with a view to expanding and improving
our coverage of poetry in 2008.
Look Around, A Look Back, At Critics and Poets
If questions want answers asked for and unsettle
answers given, that is patently good for a subject like ours, historically
approached. It may be good, too, that the question is basic, and that
it hardly appears here and now for the first time: as I look around,
I have to look back.
poetry is and can be
A response to the Battle of Ideas poetry discussion
Poets are not legislators,
even unacknowledged ones. But if they can’t practise legislation,
the bringing of law, they can practise jurisdiction, the speaking of
right. Society doesn’t exist except as we make it; we are not
atomised selves; the practice of speaking really changes the world as
has lost its meaning
An Australian perspective
The idea of what poetry is still seems to be alive,
then, but for the most part, the word poetry is seen and heard in a
sporting vernacular, not in the artistic - at least in Australia. How
did it happen that the word poetry got to be about everything but poetry?
Poetry Prize Best Collection shorlist reviews and more
year’s shortlist inclusion of young poets alongside their peers
raises some interesting questions about what we want from poetry and
how we think of poets today. Is the younger generation exploding the
stereotype of a poet as a weathered old alcoholic by innovating with
style and delivery. Should they be?
by Sean O'Brien
He comes to bury Thatcher, not to praise her.
The message implies that we should move on, but in many ways it seems
like the poem is another elegy – not for Thatcher, but for the
angry young man O’Brien was, and the old political discourse.
Habour Beyond the Movie
by Luke Kennard
A thing made is a thing created. Kennard’s
poems are hugely intelligent, sympathetic, and moving things, in free
verse and prose. We love what we do not understand—the beloved,
to begin with, the classics of literature, art, music, and philosophy,
with a Broken Wing
by Adam Thorpe
Thorpe’s explains our failure to take flight
through the lives of the ordinary man. Disasters are invoked with the
mention of Hitler or Chamberlain, yet these are not the individuals
who experience the true course of life.
by Eavan Boland
It would be foolish to think that Domestic Violence
ignores the past. Like most Irish writers, the poet is acutely aware
of how intertwined past and present can be in Ireland, 'as though the
past could be present and memory itself / a Baltic honey'.
by John Burnside
Burnside strives to depict the meaning of words,
rather than their physical reference. This yearning to define the indefinite
- like art, like religion - is both cause and consolation for a puzzling
by Alexander Hutchison
Hutchison wields total mastery over English (and
Scots) and shows imaginative and moving use of it (of them), invention
within a gamut of genres and subjects, emotional variety and depth,
and unforgettable, inexhaustible words, phrases, images, stanzas, passages,
and poems instant in their force and lasting in their significance.
by Tom Chivers (Editor), Joe Dunthorne, Inua Ellams, Laura Forman, Abigail
Oborne, James Wilkes, Emma McGordon
What is striking
is that these are, first and foremost, poems. The hip, modern references
serve a decorative or contextual purpose, rather than stemming from
the patronising notion that the reader couldn't understand poetry unless
it's given a relevant twist.