Articles on Poetry

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Ahmed Negm, the Egyptian poet of protest. STR/EPA

How Wordsworth informed the poetry of the Arab Spring

The excitement that accompanied the beginning of the Arab Spring has now largely died down, as a timeworn truth reiterates itself: when an oppressive power is toppled, a similar or worse one will often…
Australia hasn’t had a poet laureate for 200 years. We need one. shutterstock

Why Australia needs a Poet Laureate

Oxford-educated and the possessor of considerable charm, Michael Massey Robinson was also a cad and a bounder. Convicted of extortion in London in 1798, he was transported to New South Wales where he worked…
Socrates: not going gently.

Why I teach poetry and opera to medical students

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I usually begin my end of life ethics lecture with one of Dylan Thomas’ best-loved…
Australia’s long-running poetry program, Poetica, is one of the victims of the cost-cutting at the ABC. Yasunari(康就) Nakamura(中村)/Flickr

A gift adrift: what the loss of RN’s Poetica means to poets

Australia’s long-running literary flagship program – Poetica on Radio National (RN) – is slated for axing in 2015. It’s one more casualty of the cuts to the ABC budget, announced last week. For the first…
Heaney at a family party in 1979. bc-burnslibrary

‘That final vowel’: reading Seamus Heaney’s last poem

Seamus Heaney’s final poem has been published just over a year after his death. Finished ten days before he died aged 74 in August 2013, the poem is a mediation on a painting of a canal by the French artist…
Could a work of fiction constitute a truth commission in its own right? NCinDC

When the war is over, literature can help us make sense of it all

As we’ve marked the centenary of the first world war in 2014, the great poets of that conflict – Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke – have brought the literature of conflict into focus. But…
‘Shoehorning your imagination into the condition of another human being is the A game in songwriting.’ Mark Seymour, AAP/ MG Promotions

Speaking with: singer-songwriter Mark Seymour

Speaking with: Mark Seymour. CC BY-ND22.7 MB (download)
At the Melbourne Writers’ Festival this week, a panel of poets, writers and performers will read and reflect on the poetry of the first world war. Among them is Mark Seymour, the former frontman of Hunters…

We need more focus on the women poets of World War I

We’ve become very accustomed to connecting World War I with its soldier-poets. And the centenary celebrations in Britain have very rightly reminded us how important key figures such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac…
Mary’s poems give a unique insight into how the queen experienced her bloody, passionate and tragic life. Dave McLear

Mary, Queen of Scots was a poet – and you should know it

Think Mary, Queen of Scots and a few key facts probably come to mind: she was Catholic, she was imprisoned and she had her head chopped off. But a poet who offers insight into 16th-century women’s writing…
No longer the unreachable object, the moon became less ethereal after the ‘giant leap for mankind’. Petri Damstén/Flickr

Apollo 11 changed the way we felt about the moon, 45 years ago

Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, after multiple Apollo lunar missions unfolded through the 1960s in front of an awestruck global audience. But many wondered…
The financial model for Australian poetry publishing is rich and rare. Erich Ferdinand

Profit is rare, but poetry’s weird blooms persist

Recently on The Conversation, I described a remarkable moment of language experimentation highlighted by recent Australian poetry prizes. Panning out to a wider view of contemporary Australian poetry…
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…

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