Four Quartets

This week Mahlerman turns his attention to the Late Quartets of Beethoven - music so great that even T S Eliot would struggle to put it into words... "I should like to get something of that into verse before I die." This is how TS Eliot, in a letter to his friend ... Read More...

Armistice Day Poems

To mark 11 November, a post from the archives in which some of the Dabblers select a favourite verse appropriate to the occasion... Brit - Seigfried Sassoon: Everyone Sang (1920) This gradually became my favourite of Sassoon's poems, then my favourite war poem, and is now just one of my favourite poems. ... Read More...

John Clare in the Land of Sodom

There is truth and beauty in the commonplace, Stephen Pentz finds, as he considers the poetry and troubles of John Clare... I don't know exactly what it is, but there is something beguiling and lovely about the following poem. Some may find it too sentimental. Others may think that there is ... Read More...

London Scottish

Marking both last week's referendum result and the centenary of the Great War, here Gaw presents a poem about the war effort of the London Scottish rugby club... It's always the fellowship that seems most important to soldiers; ultimately, it's what persuades them to die. Doesn't that fit the definition of ... Read More...

Two Trees – A Poem For Alex Salmond

And so the Union endures. As a special tribute to Alex Salmond, here's something by the excellent Scottish poet Don Paterson. I offer no commentary - interpret it as you wish... Two Trees, by Don Paterson One morning, Don Miguel got out of bed with one idea rooted in his head: to graft his ... Read More...

Summer-into-Autumn

As summer ends, Stephen selects two seasonal poems... The sudden shifts in mood and imagery in Ivor Gurney's poetry (both between poems and within a poem) can sometimes be disconcerting and puzzling. It is tempting to ascribe these shifts to Gurney's struggles with mental illness. But one should be wary of ... Read More...

Questions and Answers

In today's poetry feature, Stephen looks at the big questions and the small questions of life... In the following poem, Elizabeth Jennings speaks of "small answers" and "big answers." Perhaps I have grown old and jaded (by the antics of humanity, my own included), but I prefer small answers. How tiresome ... Read More...

Edgar Guest, the People’s Poet

Today marks the 133rd birthday of the once extremely popular US poet Edgar Guest... Born on this day in 1881 (in England's Second City, Birmingham, though his family soon emigrated to the Land of the Free) was Edgar Guest, whose uplifting, nationally syndicated verse became so popular in the US that ... Read More...

Sofas versus Tables

How far can you travel on a sofa? I’ve been working on and off for a number of years in the world of sofas, God forgive me. So I was surprised I hadn’t heard of the “sofa poem by Seamus Heaney” that a colleague referred to the other day. She was ... Read More...

Christopher Ricks on Keats and Embarrassment

Nige salutes the extraordinary lit-crit of Christopher Ricks... Despite the heat having knocked out most of the thinking parts of my brain, I've been reading (technically re-reading, as I read it when it came out some 40 - 40! - years ago) Christopher Ricks's Keats and Embarrassment. It presents the poet's ... Read More...