Here’s Ellen Hinsey on poetry: ‘Poetry is the conscience of a society… No individual poem can stop a war—that’s what diplomacy is supposed to do. But poetry is an independent ambassador for conscience: it answers to no one, it crosses borders without a passport, and it speaks the truth. That’s why… it is one of the most powerful of the arts”. Given what’s been going on in the world these last couple of weeks it feels like one of those too-apt-to-be-a-coincidence coincidences that I should meet Hinsey’s words in the same week as someone should bring to the 42 group Larkin’s ‘Homage to a Government’.Read More
The silent watches of the night haven’t been so silent of late. I live just round the corner from a popular pub, so some of the noise has had to do with En-ger-land (glad that’s over). But a lot has been generated by some extremely vocal owls who have, I swear, taken to sitting on a windowsill very near me in order to have protracted conversations in the small hours. It’s so loud! Fortunately, it’s lovely too.
Owls seem to be one of those things lots of poets bang on about. Edward Thomas’s ‘The Owl‘ is one of my favourites.Read More
I’m writing this at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales. It’s St David’s Day in 3 days’ time (it’ll be in the rear view mirror by the time this goes live) and a watery nearly-spring sunshine is lifting the air outside. How fitting, then, to read ‘Miracle on St David’s Day’ by Gillian Clarke, a wonderful Welsh poet, about springs of different sorts and the magic wrought by poetry. Be moved by this lovely poem here.Read More