Tag Archives: Poetry

Interlude with eels and whalebones

A change is as good as a rest, they say. So here’s a poem. I wrote it about 20 years ago, inspired by some personal crisis now half-forgotten, and by an old Chambers Cyclopaedia I’d picked up cheap in a … Continue reading

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Unseen Tolkien: sex, infertility, adultery and the birth of Galadriel

The encounter between mortal man and immortal enchantress is always fateful in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. In The Lord of the Rings, for instance, Boromir fears the Elf-queen Galadriel and ignores her wisdom, then dies for his sins. The Lay of Aotrou … Continue reading

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Teaching Tolkien in Las Vegas

Vegas brought out my worst vices. Handed carte blanche to indulge recklessly and obscenely for twelve months, I borrowed books from the university library in such numbers that when it came to returning them, I had to use a suitcase. I even … Continue reading

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Middle-earth turns 100

It is 100 years since Middle-earth began. The earliest glimpse of any character or situation from his mythology was in a poem, ‘The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star’, which J.R.R. Tolkien dated 24 September 1914. He wrote it at … Continue reading

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Secrets of The Hydra: how Tolkien research uncovered lost Wilfred Owen magazines

Historic missing issues of a magazine edited by First World War poet Wilfred Owen have been found and donated to archives in Oxford, in a move hailed as ‘a stunning discovery’. When copies also went to an Edinburgh university, it … Continue reading

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Basil Bunting, a born iconoclast

Review: Richard Burton,A Strong Song Tows Us: The Life of Basil Bunting (Infinite Ideas. ISBN 9781908984180) Basil Bunting has no secure footing on the sliding scree of literary reputation. He wrote fairly challenging modernist poetry, did so sporadically between long … Continue reading

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