Tag: English poetry

A playing card with feeling

November 11, 2022 2 Comments
A playing card with feeling

Last week the National Trust kindly asked me to give a talk based on the items in an exhibition in Newton House, Dinefwr, Unlocked: 125 objects from Dinefwr.  The choice of objects, most of them connected to Newton House and Dinefwr Park, was up to me.  I could hardly fail to include one commonplace but […]

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Battle of the buildings

November 4, 2022 0 Comments
Battle of the buildings

Felicia Hemans, the leading woman poet of the Romantic period in Britain, came to Wales in 1800 when she was seven years old.  (Felicia Browne was her original name: her father, George, owned a wine-importing business.)  Her first home was a cottage near Abergele, before the family moved in 1809 to St Asaph to live […]

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The poet and the mapmaker

July 15, 2022 0 Comments
The poet and the mapmaker

As the Russian government continues its murderous and destructive war on Ukraine, it seems a good time to turn to a voice for peace.  Here’s a poem from the time of what is still called, mistakenly, the English Civil War, by an obscure poet from Norfolk, Ralph Knevet.  Entitled ‘The vote’, it is a simple […]

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Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

December 24, 2021 2 Comments
Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

In recent years many Welsh women poets of the past have been rescued from the condescension of posterity, not least in the anthology edited by Katie Gramich and Catherine Brennan.  But one of them has so far escaped much attention.  In 1839 Melesina Bowen published an unusual topographical poem in English called Ystradffin.  It deserves […]

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Moonrise

October 29, 2021 1 Comment
Moonrise

Among the eleven ‘Welsh sonnets’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins are counted some of the outstanding poems written in English in the nineteenth century.  They include ‘God’s grandeur’, ‘Pied beauty’ and ‘The windhover’. Hopkins came to live in St Beuno’s College near Tremeichion in the Vale of Clwyd in August 1874 to continue his extremely long […]

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John Clare and the snipe

October 15, 2021 0 Comments
John Clare and the snipe

Slow radio at its best achieves what no amount of ‘fast radio’, with its assumption of the attention span of a hoverfly, can achieve: thought connections that stay in the mind long after the programme has ended.  Paul Farley’s recent day (half an hour on the radio: The Poet and the Snipe) looking, in vain, […]

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Edward Thomas in Gower

April 23, 2021 2 Comments
Edward Thomas in Gower

At last some warmth returned with the sun, and I took the rough path along the top of the cliff between Rotherslade and Limeslade.  The sea was calm, empty and quiet, except for one thing: the bell of a floating buoy, its clear sound carried over the water by a light onshore breeze.  I’ve been […]

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Closely observed hot chocolate

April 2, 2021 0 Comments
Closely observed hot chocolate

From my early childhood, an evening mug of hot chocolate has been a small but constant source of comfort.  I suspect it’s a common addiction.  Chocolate drinking is not a failing that many grown-up people own up to, and certainly not one that many would think of writing about.  A notable exception is the poet […]

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Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

March 20, 2021 1 Comment
Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

The earth, thy great exchequer, ready lies is the title of a superb new collection of stories by the Welsh writer Jo Lloyd, who won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019.  The nine pieces are very different one from another, in subject, setting and register.  But they all share at least two things. […]

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Tennyson in Llanberis

January 23, 2021 0 Comments
Tennyson in Llanberis

Alfred Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire, and lived there throughout the first part of his life.  The portrait of him that always comes to mind is the photo Julia Margaret Cameron took of him in 1865, which shows him as prematurely aged, with thinning, straggly hair, untidy beard and lined face (Tennyson said it made […]

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