In the wake of rising authoritarianism in the US, and isolationism here in the UK, I have found it hard to sit down and write poetry. Clearly this seems to be a time for action more than words.
Revisiting an essay from 2007, written in the wake of US censorship of Iranian poetry, I began to re-formulate and re-work some thoughts from this piece into an argument with and for myself about why creative acts still matter.
You can read the results in a new short piece on The Huffington Post. I welcome your thoughts in the comments.
I have again compiled my shortlist of poets who I think are worth watching from both sides of The Pond.
We lovers of poetry have this consolation at least: when times get tough, the poetry gets better. More poetry, more fiercely, please, to see us through.
Get your fix of poetry recs. right here.
I have been reading a lot of amazing poetry lately, and so jotted down a few notes for Huffington Post on the ones that most grabbed my attention.
You can read the full list, with commentary, on the HuffPo site. Feel free to add your own favourites and recommendations in the comments section there.
To my knowledge, the T.S. Eliot prize shortlist has never included someone in Eliot’s own circumstances — that is, an American-born poet living in the UK. Yet there are many of us out here, and many worth knowing more about.
I have therefore complied a list of Five Expat Poets to Watch in 2016.
Seek them out, enjoy their work, and raise a cup of tea to the special (poetic) relationship.
View the complete list here.
I have once again compiled a list of five British poets who I think out to be more widely known on both sides of the Atlantic.
In this article, I also give a few tips of the hat to individuals and organisations who are making a difference by breaking down barriers geographic and otherwise in the poetry world.
Get your five for the year right here.
The internet wants to turn us into zombies.
I behold the transformation, as one by one my fellow commuters whip out their smartphones — the eyes go dead, the jaw goes slack, drool glistening at the corners of the mouth. They are reading, yes, but what are they reading? A mish-mash of “messaging” designed to provoke consumer behaviour.
Like a zombie, the internet wants to consume your brain. It’s how zombies spread. But poetry wants the opposite — it wants to give, not take. It wants to give you back your brains.
In a new review for Huffington Post, I take a close look at two poets who are taking on the zombie-like drone of mass media with their own fresh language. Equally adroit in high and low registers — as comfortable undoing the undead with a high-powered rifle as with a cricket bat — these two associate as freely as search engine results, tackling big questions with humour, pathos, and self-conscious aplomb.
This poetry will give you back your brains — and perhaps even a bit of your heart.