Poetry

Very bad poems on the Underground

8 March 2014 9:00 am

My husband was surprised by quite a bit when we travelled by Underground in London the other day. Although he…

A learned poet's mystifying mistakes

15 February 2014 9:00 am

I enjoy Poetry Please, but was shouting mildly at the wireless the other day when a northern woman poet was…

Deserter, wifebeater, great poet: the shame and glory of Vernon Scannell

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Vernon Scannell was a thief, a liar, a deserter, a bigamist, a fraud, an alcoholic, a woman-beater and a coward.…

What would Auden have deemed evil in our time? European jingoism

9 November 2013 9:00 am

‘Goodbye to the Mezzogiorno’ was the first Auden poem that Alexander McCall Smith read in his youth. He discovered it…

Jonathan Aitken's diary: My life as a Christian outreach speaker

26 October 2013 9:00 am

The last time I wrote for The Spectator I was sitting in a prison cell. I sent the then editor…

A Strong Song Tows Us, by Richard Burton - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

How minor is minor? ‘Rings a bell’ was more or less the response of two English literature graduates, now successful…

Dot Wordsworth's week in words: Did William Empson have the first clue what 'bare ruined choirs' meant?

5 October 2013 9:00 am

I am shocked to find that William Empson, famous for his technique of close reading, was no good at reading…

Music at Midnight, by John Drury - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

When John Drury, himself an Anglican divine, told James Fenton (the son of a canon of Christ Church) that he…

Six Bad Poets, by Christopher Reid - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Is poetry in good enough health to be made fun of in this way? The irony is that this long,…

Seamus Heaney's poems are for Protestants too

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Seamus Heaney’s poetry from the other side of Northern Ireland’s divide

The views that inspire writers

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Do writers really need inspiring landscapes? Or the opposite?

Mind your language: The springs before the Arab Spring

3 August 2013 9:00 am

Two hundred and forty-years ago next Tuesday, Thomas Gray was buried in his mother’s grave in Stoke Poges churchyard. In…