27. November 2018
‘Not Revie but/ Reverdy’: Martin Bell’s Gregory Fellowship in “The City of Dreadful Something” A book launch of Martin Bell Translates Robert Desnos will take place on 6 December in the Alumni Room of the School of English at the University of Leeds. In anticipation of the launch, Karl O’Hanlon writes about this unusual and underrated poet. ‘There was something goliardic about him’, Anthony Burgess wrote in his memoir You’ve Had Your Time. His characterisation captures the...
11. March 2018
Up the hill and overlooking Aix Without seeing it branch shadows Cross and re-cross on the sand yellow Leaves shade out distractions back The terrace heaven green while carefully Calibrated grey shines gloom inside From painted walls and dedicate a sacred Factory and still suggesting real Presences despite the painter’s retirement A century ago and curious tramping Through the precincts never would have been Tolerated then though reverent But they can witness that he forged his pictures On a...
09. March 2018
These hills history has made A clean, repletive ossuary, It stirs with corpses laid, Ranged: prone and propiatory. We watch and wait on a crest, The ravens are mocking our vigil, Trespassing over Tikveš Like bored renegades. The still Day’s cumulus begins to move, Fresh, hoped-for and soft, They are circling now, above, The survivors whom we’d lost: They are flying with their kith To Demir Kapija, Mariovo, Niš.
16. June 2017
On 31st May 1976, the US poet Robert Lowell received an honorary degree from Trinity College Dublin. On that occasion, two other Americans were also honored: the novelist Saul Bellow and the astronaut Neil Armstrong. Given his proximity to the major social and political happenings of post-war America, it is no surprise that Lowell should have had a moon-landings poem. The ‘beautiful, mist-drunken hunter’s moon’ of his sonnet ‘History’ may be better-remembered by his readers, but the...
01. March 2017
1. Robin Day Polyprop chair 1963 A polypropylene butterfly. Light as a TV guide, strong as a delivery ramp. With a seat in any colour of bold-blocks, singularly moulded (optionally apertured), secured to rod legs, it can be configured in rows, spirals, rectilinear links, or dotted oddly about halls, canteens, and waiting rooms. Its belly gum-barnacled. Its face biro-tagged with love fusings or pop-band-blazons or that vast, vatic, phallus implausible. (It’s also stackable.)
04. August 2016
Interview by Rebekah Cumpsty and Karl O’Hanlon In A Secular Age, you take up Earl Wasserman’s concept of “a subtler language”, the way in which poetic language shifts during the “watershed” of the Romantic period to fulfil a creative rather than mimetic role: as you put it, the Romantic poets “make us aware of something in nature for which there are as yet no established words”. What historical and cultural factors make Romanticism such a turning point? Hasn’t this urge to...
13. May 2016
No words to speak of, so: fox thinks in music. Buzzy patterns, sound stories in the present tense, a solo instrumental or a symphony incorporating what is noted, or is scent. Reflections on the curious quest for sense.
29. March 2016
On the morning of Good Friday 1916, Sir Roger Casement landed on the beaches of Banna Strand in County Kerry. He was suffering from a recurrence of malaria which he had contracted some time ago in the Congo and didn’t make it too far from the Irish shore. He was arrested by two officers from the Royal Irish Constabulary on charges of treason, sabotage and espionage against the Crown. In his coat pockets they found a German admiralty codebook and the ticket stub for a railway journey from...
18. March 2016
A fantastic afternoon with the poet Wendy Cope held at the Grand Opera House. Wendy Cope is known for being wry, perceptive and very, very witty. You would know this about her just from hearing the vocal reactions of the audience at this event in York as they laughed, murmured and sighed along with the cadences of the poems she read and anecdotes she told. Cope took centre stage after a short introduction, and spoke in a charming and engaging performance of some of her best-loved poems and new...
29. January 2016
i.m. Christopher Middleton Christopher Middleton, who died in Texas on the 30th of November 2015, was born in 1926. Not only did he live till almost 90, one of the last survivors of his generation, he was writing and publishing up to the last year of his life, having begun to publish his poetry in the 1940s – a record of longevity comparable with Thomas Hardy or W.B. Yeats. It’s worth dwelling for a moment on Middleton’s position relative to his generation, because doing so illustrates...

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