The Willow Pattern

Observe my delicate Koong-see, whey-faced beside the lattice fence and warming in her palm my gift of an ivory bead.   In the palace garden’s midnight blue the apple tree …

What are poets for?

‘Who wants poets in lean years?’ That was how Michael Hamburger translated the phrase ‘wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit?’, from Hölderlin’s poem ‘Bread and Wine’. ‘What are poets for in …

Competition 2012: Judge’s Report – Neil Astley

The process of judging a poetry competition can feel like a bombardment: hundreds of poems all clamouring for attention, almost crying out Choose me! I’m the poem you want! It’s something of …