Poetry

Guide To The Classics: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran (original spelling at birth “Khalil”) is a strange phenomenon of 20th Century letters and publishing. Antonia Pont The Conversation After Shakespeare and the Chinese poet Laozi, Gibran’s work from 1923, The Prophet, has made him the third most-sold poet of all time. This slim volume of 26 prose poems has been translated into over 50 languages; its US edition alone has sold over 9 million copies. Its first printing sold out in a month, and later, during the ... Read More »

Catastrophe overload? Read philosophers and poetry instead of headlines

For almost two years now, Americans have been confronted daily by ominous tidings. We are living through stressful times. Reading the news feels awful; ignoring it doesn’t feel right either. Rachel Hadas The Conversation Psychologist Terri Apter recently wrote about the “phenomenon in human behavior sometimes described as ‘the hive switch,’ where “catastrophic events eliminate selfishness, conflict and competitiveness, rendering humans as… But if hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanoes trigger the hive switch, does this principle hold for man-made catastrophes? What ... Read More »

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker review – a feminist Iliad

This brilliant retelling of Homer’s epic poem focuses on the cost of war to women through the story of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine Emily Wilson The Guardian In The Iliad, a poem about the terrible destruction caused by male aggression, the bodies and pretty faces of women are the objects through which men struggle with each other for status. The women are not entirely silent, and goddesses always have plenty to say, but mortal women speak primarily to lament. They grieve ... Read More »

Somaliland poet jailed for Somalia reunification poetry

A court in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has sentenced a young poet to three years in jail. BBC Nacima Qorane was found guilty of bringing the state into contempt by advocating for Somaliland to reunite with Somalia. Pressure groups in Somaliland said Ms Qorane’s basic human rights have been violated. Somaliland self-declared independence in 1991, but is not recognised internationally. Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital Mogadishu, where prosecutors said she had recited ... Read More »

A history of loneliness

Is loneliness our modern malaise? Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says the most common pathology he saw during his years of service “was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Amelia S. Worsley The Conversation Chronic loneliness, some say, is like “smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” It “kills more people than obesity.” Because loneliness is now considered a public health issue – and even an epidemic – people are exploring its causes and trying to find solutions. While ... Read More »

Guide to the classics: Sappho, a poet in fragments

For those who have read the fragmented remains of the Greek poet, Sappho the loss of most of her poetic corpus is something to regret. Marguerite Johnson The Conversation With a mere two complete poems extant from nine books of verse, much is left to the imagination in the reconstruction of the output (and life) of this most mysterious of ancient poets. In a world dominated by male voices whose view of life, the universe and everything was the loudest and most ... Read More »

A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin

The award-winning fantasy and science fiction author on politics, death, writing and gender • News report: Ursula K Le Guin dies at 88 Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Ursula K Le Guin, award-winning fantasy and science fiction author and pioneer of feminist speculative fiction, has died age 88. Her extensive catalogue of published works includes novels, essays, poetry and children’s books. Here are some of her most memorable quotes. On mortality: ”You will die. You will not live forever. Nor will any ... Read More »

Message to the gods: the space poetry that transcends human rivalries

Sputnik 1 started it all. The beachball-sized satellite was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 and, despite a relatively short mission of only 21 days in orbit around Earth, quickly became regarded as a device that changed the world. Phil Leonard The Conversation It represented the beginning of the Space Age – and immediately heightened tensions between the US and the USSR, prompting fears about the weaponising of space. But Sputnik, and the missions that were to ... Read More »

Courageous quests: Keats, art and refugees

The great sensualist Romantic poet John Keats arrived in Rome in late 1820 with his friend, painter Joseph Severn This was not to be a grand tour of Italy in the typical sense. Amanda Frances Johnson  The Conversation Fortune did not smile on Keats’s lungs or his bank balance; one year later he was dead. Passionate letters from sweetheart Fanny Brawne lay unopened and were buried with him, as he requested, in the tranquil oasis of the English Cemetery in ... Read More »

Finding Heraclitus

The great thinkers of ancient Greece were all poets So, why do philosophers today, most of whom are not, believe they can understand the thoughts and, therefore, truths of philosophers back then? David Allen Farrell Medium I say they can’t. Only another poet-philosopher can do that. Roughly twenty-five hundred years ago, something very interesting happened on the planet. A people not at all unlike ourselves today started to put their heads together in such a way that they began to ... Read More »

Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘I’m almost 60 and I’m still angry. Everyone told me I would mellow’

The celebrated dub poet might grow his own vegetables in the shires – but he is still in a revolutionary mood. From carnival surveillance to the abandonment of the Grenfell families, he says Britain needs radical political change – now Stephen Moss The Guardian Benjamin Zephaniah’s 1998 poem Carnival Days is a lyrical love letter to the Notting Hill carnival, where “We dance like true survivors / We dance to the sounds of our dreams.” Or, more accurately, it’s a ... Read More »

Poet Tony Walsh Delivers Stunning Ode To Manchester At Vigil For Bombing Victims

‘The songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands, set the whole planet shaking’. Graeme Demianyk HuffPost Poet Tony Walsh became an instant symbol of Manchester’s defiance in the face of terror after reading his powerful ode to the city at a… Addressing thousands gathered at Manchester’s central Albert Square, the poet – known as ‘Longfella’ – gave a recital of his poem This Is The Place that paid tribute to the city’s rich history as an… Poet ... Read More »

A poem about refugees you need to read

Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, a wave of anti-refugee sentiment made its way overseas to the United States as multiple governors and Congressmen began expressing an… The Refugees, authored by Jason Fotso. To Jason Fotso―eighteen years old at the time―this shut-door stance contradicted the longstanding U.S. policy of welcoming in refugees, and more symbolically, the sonnet inscribed on the… He sought to capture this spirit in a… A poem about… Read More »

This Is a Poem That Heals Fish: An Almost Unbearably Wonderful Picture-Book About How Poetry Works Its Magic

“A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” Maria Popova Brain Pickings “Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire,” Adrienne Rich wrote in contemplating the cultural power of poetry. But what is a poem, really, and what exactly is its use? Every once in a while, you stumble upon something so lovely, so… This Is a… Read More »

Meet the Greek writers revolutionising poetry in the age of austerity

A new group of poets is changing the arts landscape in Greece. Fearless, global and with an artistic fervour unseen since the dictatorship, they tell us their hopes, the culture that excites them – and the Greek myths they’d like to debunk.. A new kind of poetry is flourishing in Greece’s streets, bars and cafes. It is popping up not just on magazines, small presses and websites, but on… Source: Meet the Greek writers revolutionising poetry in the age of ... Read More »