Category Archives: Poetry

The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud

I followed deadpan Rivers down and down, And knew my haulers had let go the ropes. Whooping redskins took my men as targets And nailed them nude to technicolour posts. I didn’t give a damn about the crews, Or the … Continue reading

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A Work of Fiction by Louise Gluck

A Work of Fiction As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow envel- oped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into … Continue reading

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Discovering the Dark Mountain Project.

Last night’s launch event for the sixth issue of Dark Mountain corroborated my initial impression of the community that surround this network of writers, musicians and artists. I’ve been immersed daily in the writing and art of this network since … Continue reading

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Sensorium of the World

A friend sends me an email to ask if I know the poems of American poet Jorie Graham. I am aware of Graham’s work, thanks to an interview with Helen Vendler who talked of a trend in Graham’s work to return … Continue reading

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Old Man, Dead in a Room by Charles Bukowski

Bukowski in correspondence with John William Corrington who published Bukowski as the American representative of a tradition of literary outsiders stretching back to Villon and Rimbaud: ‘Old Man, Dead in a Room is my future, ‘The Tragedy of the Leaves’ … Continue reading

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Duality of Silence

In The World of Silence, Max Picard quotes Goutran de Procius’s Kablina, where he sums up so lucidly the duality of silence, that tension between rapture and fear familiar to anyone that chooses to spend long periods of immersion in silence. Here in … Continue reading

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Seamus Heaney and Caillebotte’s Banks of a Canal

Seamus Heaney finished this poem 10 days before he died, meditating on the serene beauty of a canal painted by the French artist Gustave Caillebotte. Banks of a Canal Say ‘canal’ and there’s that final vowel Towing silence with it, … Continue reading

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To burn delight from suffering

When someday this long affliction will have broken up, like ice, it will be spoken of as of the Black Death; and children on the heath will build a man of straw to burn delight from suffering and light from … Continue reading

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Lines on Brueghel’s “Icarus”

Michael Hamburger’s poem is on my mind today, which I unapologetically quote in full below. I’ve always loved the viewpoint that Hamburger chooses for his poem. The ploughman ploughs, the fisherman dreams of fish; Aloft, the sailor, through a world … Continue reading

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Writing That Stops Itself

Binge-reading Anne Carson continues with Men in the Off Hours. I’ve just spent a fortnight with Eros the Bittersweet, reading it three times back to back and then a fourth to transcribe large passages into my notebook. It is simply … Continue reading

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