Poetry

Spectator competition winners: a poem for Boris

5 November 2017 9:46

The latest competition called for a safe poem that Boris Johnson could have on hand to quote from when out…

Books Podcast: Clive James

24 August 2017 12:59

In this week’s Books podcast I speak to Clive James. Since he was diagnosed with leukaemia, Clive has been as…

Books Podcast: William Empson’s legacy

8 June 2017 14:19

In this week’s Books Podcast, we’re talking about William Empson, one of the most brilliant and captivatingly eccentric literary critics and…

Why do people hate poetry?

2 January 2017 11:52

Why do so many people think poetry is important, and so few of them read it? And why does what…

Larkin, Keats and Hardy can all be summed up in a word – but not Shakespeare

5 November 2016 9:00

What can be said in a word? A lot, if you are a poet. Poets annex familiar words and empower…

The Nobel Prize for literature, at long last, has been awarded to a complete idiot

14 October 2016 10:49

Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for literature. And quite right too. But many people seem discomfited by the…

The Spectator podcast: Eugenics, Tory wars and poetry

31 March 2016 8:25

We’re delighted to have Berry Bros sponsor our flagship podcast. For some years now their ‘Good Ordinary Claret‘ has been The Spectator’s house red, served to all our guests…

Ted Hughes vs Philip Larkin – whose team are you on?

19 October 2015 16:18

Are you a Phillist or a Teddist? A Phillist is not a Philistine in a hurry, but one who warms…

Ted Hughes’s estate squares up to poet’s unauthorised biographer

14 October 2015 16:59

The row over Jonathan Bate’s unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes is hotting up. Professor Bate originally embarked on the book…

Poets4Corbyn: Jeremy Corbyn is immortalised in rhyme

21 August 2015 11:32

If you thought Corbynmania was limited to female obsession and male politicians growing their facial hair, it’s time to think again. It…

The poetic thoughts your pet is having

14 August 2015 16:51

My request for poems by a pet who is cheesed off with its owner generated an entertaining parade of bullied,…

Why Twitter was right to mock Craig Raine’s poem

4 June 2015 17:44

Yesterday was a strange day on Twitter. For most of it, a living poet was trending. Unfortunately for Craig Raine,…

Craig Raine should ignore the angry feminists – they’re just jealous

3 June 2015 17:00

I don’t know much about poetry, but I know this: whoever Craig Raine’s poem is about, she will be chuffed.…

Can Twitter not cope with a slightly fruity poem?

3 June 2015 15:58

Something incredible happened today: the Twitterati – used to passing mob justice on telly, celebs and politics – turned their…

What exactly is the point of the Oxford Professor of Poetry? And will Wole win it?

2 June 2015 16:24

‘People are terribly interested in the election,’ said Christopher Ricks before his 2004 inaugural lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry,…

Today’s reburial wasn’t about Richard III. It was about Benedict Cumberbatch

26 March 2015 15:07

We should have known it. Today’s reburial isn’t about Richard III. It’s about Benedict Cumberbatch. Isn’t everything these days, somehow…

Why James Elroy Flecker deserves our attention

1 February 2015 14:09

This month sees the Swiss alpine resort of Davos play host to the annual World Economic Forum summit, but it…

Who cares that Liz Lochhead has joined the SNP?

2 December 2014 15:11

Is it acceptable for writers to sport their political allegiances publicly? In more sensible times you’d hardly need to consider…

Spectator books of the year: Roger Lewis on hating Sheridan Morley

17 November 2014 11:47

Sheridan Morley was an old enemy of mine, so I was thrilled to see him brilliantly denounced and called to…

Dylan Thomas: speeches for Hitler, balderdash for Walton and the true meaning of Under Milk Wood

24 October 2014 11:11

My father came across Dylan Thomas in a Swansea pub in 1947. ‘Chap over there,’ said one of the regulars…

The Foyle prize for poetry will restore your faith in arts awards

6 October 2014 15:10

Those of us who were never destined to be great young poets can probably remember the attempts. I kept my…

The Village: Sunday-night TV at its most unsubtle and addictive

14 August 2014 16:38

Proof that television has changed a bit since 1972 came with an archive clip shown on BBC4 on Sunday. ‘My…

The poet who welcomed war

23 April 2014 14:52

Today, 23 April, the world celebrates the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s presumed birth (and marks with less joy the…

Poetry in motion — and bridges and graves

19 April 2014 15:00

The most recent challenge, to incorporate a list of poets’ surnames — motion, bridges, wilde, gray, cope, hood, burns and…

Ed Vaizey for the BM?

9 April 2014 15:28

There was only one topic of discussion at the launch of Nadine Dorries’s novel Four Streets last night – will…