Friday, 16 November 2007
Thursday, 8 November 2007
The magazine and its editor and publisher Conan Tobias have been steadfast supporters of my work over the years, so of course it is a genuine pleasure to be included in the anniversary issue.
Taddle Creek will, of course, be celebrating its anniversary in style—and you’re invited. Please join Taddle Creek on Wednesday, November 28th, at the Gladstone Hotel ballroom, 1214 Queen Street West, starting at 8 p.m. Ever-so-brief readings will be performed by Gary Barwin, Chris Chambers, Dani Couture, Patrick Rawley, and David Whitton, with music by the Eradicators. There will also be door prizes, and maybe cake. Admission, as always, is free, free, free.
Sunday, 4 November 2007
I don't suppose there's a thoughtful student in the land who is unaware of Wilfred Owen's best-known poem, "Dulce et Decorum Est".Read the whole story here.
Indeed, it tells us something about our pervading cynicism that Horace's words are now taken more readily as sarcasm than at face value.
It is often assumed – as a student, I made the mistake myself – that the poem's author was some sort of bitter, jaundiced pacifist. But the enigma of Wilfred Owen is that he was anything but that. The fascination of his life is his embodiment of contradictions.
It is true that he was not among the first to answer the call to bash the Boche. Indeed, he seems to have been a rather fey and precious young man, first as a vicar's assistant in Berkshire, and then as an English teacher in France.
When he finally decided to join the Army (through the Artists' Rifles, to fit with his own idea of himself as a poet, despite the fact that he was unpublished, and, frankly, not very good, either) he was repulsed by the coarseness of the men among whom he found himself.
But his letters to his mother – our main source of information about his life – show how much he changed. Initial distaste at the vulgarity of the sweaty, noisy men among whom he was obliged to live became a genuine love.
The publication last week of the letters of Ted Hughes has left critics crackling with excitement. Revealing, intimate, often generous, sometimes bleak, they catch the mind of a poet in the process of creation, bewildered and lost in the wreckage of his ill-starred relationships with Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill - or offering young students advice on poetry or life. But one aspect of Hughes's life, which inspired his poetry and engaged his hunger for learning, is missing - his deep love of nature and concern for the environment. Despite the yards of shelf space devoted to Hughes's complex personal life in memoirs, biographies and criticism, despite the popularity of nature writers such as Roger Deakin, Robert Macfarlane and Kathleen Jamie, Hughes's environmental activism and his prophetic insight into the consequences of consumerism have been almost entirely overlooked. It's a shame because these were essential to the man and the poet, and because so many of his hunches about what the future held are coming true.
Read the whole article here.