Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Miłosz: A biography' by Andrzej Franaszek, edited and translated by Aleksandra Parker and Michael Parker
About halfway through this thick biography of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz (and halfway through the century of horrors that his life experiences uncannily track and are witness to) came a passage that stopped me dead ...... (read more)
We received almost 1,000 entries in this year’s Peter Porter Poetry Prize – by far our biggest field to date. Entries came from twenty-two countries. The judges – Ali Alizadeh, Jill Jones, Felicity Plunkett – have now shortlisted
‘You might ask how a man who spent his days with the major poems of Browning could wish to spend his evenings with the minor movies of Chow Yun-fat,’ Clive James asks ...... (read more)
Peter Porter's posthumous collection of poems, Chorale at the Crossing, is preoccupied, understandably, with death – but death was a central preoccupation of his work from the beginning. How could it not be? He lost his mother at the age of nine.
Porter's two Collected Poems (1983 and 1999) were – are – stupendous, exuberant treasure- ...
Speaking of the un-
spoken, jokes are a smoky
This near-haiku is not so much a final definition of jokes as one definition of poetry. It shows up in Peter Goldsworthy's sequence 'Ars Poetica'. What he means is that the wordplay of jokes we make every day is a microcosm, a type and model of the more grandiose verbal surp ...
I sometimes think that poetry sits in relation to the great empire of the Novel as precariously as early Christianity in the Roman Empire: small groups of devotees gathering in catacombs to perform their sacred rites. OK, the stakes are not as high (the odd literary lion notwithstanding) and things have changed a little in recent years (new media platforms, performa ...
Clive James’s series of memoirs began in 1980 with the Unreliable one. Thirty-five years and four more very funny books later, the Five Lives of Clive have been rounded with a sixth: a slim volume of poems. It is probably also the most reliable, as if, paradoxically, James took more poetic licence when working in prose. The prevailing tone is a long way fro ...
Italo Calvino once observed that the ideal condition for a writer is ‘close to anonymity’, adding that ‘the more the author’s figure invades the field, the more the world he portrays empties’. These comments about anonymity were made during an interview on Swiss television, no less. Calvino must have felt his imaginary worlds slipping away as he spoke ...... (read more)
‘Who do you think you are?’ an eminent paediatrician once thundered at me across a child’s cot during his weekly grand ward round. ‘Anton Chekhov?’... (read more)