The Blog


POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 14

William Blake is both the simplest and the most complicated of poets. He often speaks to us in epigrams or formulaic statements, yet he delights in paradox and unexpected conclusions. Blake is one who states his deeply-held beliefs, whether you take [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 13

In the misery of mourning there is much about our own uncertainty of death. It is sure that we will die, but into what state? On Shakespeare’s birthday I offer an extract from Measure for Measure (Act 3 Sc 1) in which the fear that eats into this que [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN:12

Alfred, Lord Tennyson is a name carved in granite, the name of a monument of a man. In his time Tennyson's poetry was read everywhere from humble cottages to royal palaces, and he ended up as Poet Laureate and a lord. He isn't quite so popular now (d [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 11

  My third choice from poems about grief is by Gerard Manley Hopkins. A Jesuit priest in the 19th century, who had an unmistakeable but, of course, never acknowledged gay nature, had few outlets for his emotions. Hopkins found just two: prayer and p [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 10

This is another poem of grief for the loss of a child. The Cornish tin-miner poet John Harris (1820-84) was one of those self-educated writers who dot the literary landscape and are sometimes dismissed as “local poets”. Along with John Clare and Will [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN:9

Many people are dying who would — or might — have lived.  With a person’s death it’s natural to turn to poetry for consolation or at least for a meaningful expression of grief, a feeling many people find hard to express. ‘Elegy’ is poetry written [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 8

A poem for Easter Sunday George Herbert’s ‘Easter Wings’ is a classic (perhaps the classic) Easter poem.  Herbert (1593-1633) was like John Donne & Gerard Manley Hopkins a priest-poet, though much more like Hopkins than Donne. There’s no hinter [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 7

It's Easter Saturday and the sun is shining all over England. Today (in ordinary times) families would be hurling li-los, wetsuits, surfboards, buckets and spades into the car boot and heading for the sea-side. But we are in lockdown. The only beach [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN:6

John Updike will always be better known as a novelist & short story writer, but he took himself quite seriously as a poet. His first published piece of writing, in The New Yorker c. 1951, was a poem. He went on to publish several collections of p [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN:5

from The Prelude (Book X) by William Wordsworth I’m posting this on Wordsworth’s 250thbirthday. He enjoyed a monumental reputation in the Victorian age and for years afterwards, but isn’t particularly fashionable now. We all know his greatest anthol [...]
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