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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paul Celan in Mapesbury Road

BBC iPlayer

"What brought one of the most compelling modern European poets to a perfectly ordinary street in North London? Who did he visit there? And what made him write a poem about the experience? The writer, Toby Litt, investigates this most improbable of brief encounters between Paul Celan, the master elegist of 20th century Jewish experience and Britain at the end of the Sixties."

Available until 12:02pm Tue, 26 Oct 2010
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11:30am Tue, 19 Oct 2010
Duration 30 minutes

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Ted Hughes's 'Last Letter' to Sylvia Plath

Books | guardian.co.uk: "Critic and friend of both Plath and Hughes Al Alvarez ponders the rather 'uncooked' poem published for the first time last week"

The John Donne poem referred to in the article: A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY'S DAY, BEING THE SHORTEST DAY. It is a long poem, here are four lines from it:

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Unlock the mathematical secrets of verse

National Poetry Day: unlock the mathematical secrets of verse - Telegraph: "Robert Frost put it neatly when he wrote that 'Poetry without rules is like tennis without a net'. Poetry, in other words, is mathematics. It is close to a particular branch of the subject known as combinatorics, the study of permutations..." (Steve Jones)

Steve Jones makes poetry sound rather bloodless. If he wrote something it would be as solid as a concrete block and would float likewise, I think. Includes a nice quote from Robert Frost: 'Poetry without rules is like tennis without a net'.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Saturday poem

'A human head . . .' by Edwin Morgan

The Guardian continues to provide marvellous examples from modern poets. Follow this link to find more.