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Articles on Poetry

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Is using a vast vocabulary such a good thing anyway? Candice Albach/ Raul Pacheco Vega

Shakespeare had fewer words, but doper rhymes, than rappers

New York-based data scientist and designer Matt Daniels recently noted Shakespeare’s much touted vast vocabulary and charted how many different words Shakespeare used in comparison to contemporary hip-hop…
There’s renewed interest in poetry that takes risks and engages inventively with form. Tian Yang

2014 is a rich and radical time in Australian poetry

Do you think of poetry as a quaint hobby or an antiquated riddle? Think again. If you haven’t been keeping up with Australian poetry this year, you’re missing some of the country’s most exciting avant-garde…
Tom Hollander playing Dylan Thomas. BBC/Modern Television

Remembering Dylan Thomas – our frenzied anniversary culture

In Other People’s Countries, a memoir of his Belgian childhood, Patrick McGuinness writes: “I sometimes think it’s getting worse, this past business, that it’s rising up in me like damp creeping up a wall…
Saharan sands. Shutterstock/apdesign

Recent wind brings sand and thoughts from the Sahara

Drivers in parts of Southern England and Ireland have been finding fine red dust on their vehicles – sand blown all the way from the Sahara desert. There is now even a pollution warning because of the…
Not your average poet. Wikimedia Commons

New Sappho poems set classical world reeling

It’s a kind of literary miracle. Fragments of two new poems by Ancient Greek poet Sappho have been discovered, making it possible for us to be among the first people to read these texts for more than 1,000…
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face. Wikimedia Commons

A Robert Burns is for life, not just for 25 January

On 25 January, people all over the world will congregate to feast upon a spicy sheep’s stomach – but not before they’ve recited a poem in its honour. The occasion is Burns Night, the poem is Robert Burns’s…
Christopher Barnett’s magnum opus was first published on Facebook. tausend und eins, fotografik

The greatest Australian poet you’ve never heard of

Tomorrow, a new book by the Adelaide-born performance poet and playwright Christopher Barnett will be launched in Melbourne. Titled when they came/ for you: elegies/ of resistance, it’s the first time…
Amid the chaos, a survivor is carried out of Westgate Mall. EPA/Kabir Dhanji

Terror in Kenya: literature and laughs turn into pain and loss

At 9.30am on Saturday I drove past the Westgate Mall on my way to the National Museums of Kenya. I needed a coffee after a late night, and contemplated stopping but for no particular reason I drove on…
Seamus Heaney up close with the local environment. Burns Library, Boston College

Seamus Heaney - the death of a naturalist

The sudden death on Friday of the Irish Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney has focused international minds and media on the power of poetry to affect our lives. This is especially true from an environmental…
Gunter Grass caused a stir with his anti-Israel poem, but political poetry often misses the mark. AAP/Marcus Brandt

Political poetry took down Günter Grass … but is it any good?

The world of political poetry has suffered some significant losses in recent months. Václav Havel, a poet long before he was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic…

End of year report (letter to Hisham)

The following is a poem commissioned by The Conversation from Sydney City Poet, Kate Middleton on the year that was. Did you read about the MARS-500 simulation? Six men in isolation sharing a broken English…

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