Richard Whiting – Comedy – The god of modern life

ANDREW THORNTON-NORRIS is the author of The Spiritual History of English, described by The Times as "an enjoyable, erudite and cohesive journey through the history and philosophy of English literature in 150 pithily written pages." He is also an accomplished poet, described by the University Bookman as "refreshingly direct, in contrast to contemporary poets whose poems are like hearing half…

Seasonal Interlude for an Arthurian epic: from Autumn

RAHUL GUPTA holds a PhD from the University of York for a thesis on Old English and Norse poetry and the 19th-20th century mediævalist alliterative revival. His poems, prose, and translations have been published in Agenda, Acumen, Eborakon, Equinox, Molly Bloom, Spectral Realms, and Wiðowinde, among other journals, and online by British Intelligence, and The…

Stuff and nonsense

The Culture of My Stuff Adam Crothers, Carcanet, 2020, 84 pps, £10.99 DEREK TURNER finds a celebrated poet’s latest collection dazzling but lightweight This slender assemblage comes weighted with prestige – Adam Crothers’ prize-winning history (Shine/Strong and Seamus Heaney Centre in 2017), and endorsements of his latest offering by equally well-regarded contemporaries. But any potential…

The once and un-killable king

King Arthur: The Making of a Legend Nicholas J. Higham, Yale University Press, 2018, 380 pages LIAM GUILAR marvels to see a sledgehammer being wielded against castles-in-the-air People in Britain have been telling stories about an ‘Arthur’ since at least the 9th century, possibly earlier. In the Middle Ages, those stories include some of the…

Three poems and a translation by Susan Watson

SUSAN WATSON’s work has appeared in The Rialto, The Frogmore Papers, Brittle Star, The North and Long Poem Magazine.  She has also contributed to anthologies, including A Room to Live In: A Kettle’s Yard Anthology (Salt Publishing), Herrings (Blue Door Press) and The Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 (Eyewear) Reading The Rainbow Fourteen,…

Three poems by Claudia Gary

CLAUDIA GARY's latest chapbook is Genetic Revisionism. She is also author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and chapbooks including Bikini Buyer's Remorse, Let's Get Out of Here, and Epicurigrams, all available from the author. A writing instructor, health journalist, and composer of art songs and chamber music, she lives near Washington D.C. Her…

Shores, stars…and unmade beds

Bethesda Constellations, Peter Hughes, Oystercatcher Press, 2020 28 pages The Celestial Set-Up, Zoë Skoulding, Oystercatcher Press, 2020, 24 pages LIAM GUILAR combs through two new poetry pamphlets Oystercatcher Press is one of the many small presses keeping poetry alive and well and providing readers with the opportunity to sample a writer’s work for a relatively…

Why Milton matters

Gustave Dore illustration for Paradise Lost BARRY SPURR rides to the rescue of the blind visionary When the Oxford philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, was at St Paul’s School in London, in the 1920s, John Milton’s 200-line pastoral elegy, ‘Lycidas’, was set for learning by heart by the boys. Decades later, when Berlin visited the newly-established Wolfson…

Three poems by Josephine Balmer

JOSEPHINE BALMER’s recent collection, The Paths of Survival (Shearsman),was short-listed for the 2017 London Hellenic Prize. Other works include Letting Go (Agenda Editions, 2017), The Word for Sorrow (Salt, 2007), Chasing Catullus (Bloodaxe, 2004), Catullus: Poems of Love and Hate (2004) and Classical Women Poets (1996). Her translations of Sappho were recently reissued in an…