Yes, I can

In the fearful years of the Yezhov terror I spent seventeen months in prison queues in Leningrad. One day somebody ‘identified’ me. Beside me, in the queue there was a …

Deaths and Entrances

Along with its wider mood of remembrance, 2014 offered the opportunity to reconsider the work of two poets, born days apart a hundred years earlier. My parents had grown up …

The Odd Couple

The most unexpected, and as it turned out inspiring, book I read last year was Airmail (Bloodaxe, 2013), a collection of letters between the American poet Robert Bly and the Swedish Nobel …

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 …