Category Archives: Poetry

Cloud Palace

Stretched out in my seat in row 7, absorbed in my book, I detected a tentative touch on the crook of my arm. An old woman was sitting beside me; her scent was of herbs And the light cotton tunic … Continue reading

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Summer Songs

MAYFLY The little mayfly flew about Until the mighty sun went out. A minute more the mayfly flew – And then the mayfly went out too.   MIDGES Have you ever seen the midges Dancing on a summer eve? Tropic … Continue reading

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Mervyn Peake at Southport

[I’ve been busy marking this month, which hasn’t given me much time for blogging. Here, then, is an essay I wrote for Peter Winnington’s journal Peake Studies; the full version with notes can be found in Vol. 12 No. 1 (October 2010), 3-24. There will … Continue reading

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Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and the Death of Orpheus

Venus and Adonis (1593) is Shakespeare’s cheeky and disturbing contribution to the fierce contemporary debate over the function of poetry. The poem was his first published non-dramatic work, an opportunity for the young author to drop clues about his poetic … Continue reading

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Shakespeare, ‘Tam o’Shanter’, and the Theatrical Works of Robert Burns

This post doesn’t focus on fantasy – though it gets there in the end. I’m putting it up in honour of Burns Night, 25 January; and in response to this recent piece in The Times, which may have slightly over-sensationalised what I’ve been … Continue reading

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Mervyn Peake and Trees

Peake was a lover of trees. Some of the most famous pictures of him, taken when he was living on the island of Sark between 1946 and 1949, show him in communion with them: suspended in a copse of saplings … Continue reading

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