(Photo: Getty)

Ted Hughes vs Philip Larkin – whose team are you on?

19 October 2015 16:18

Are you a Phillist or a Teddist? A Phillist is not a Philistine in a hurry, but one who warms…


Ted Hughes’s estate squares up to poet’s unauthorised biographer

14 October 2015 16:59

The row over Jonathan Bate’s unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes is hotting up. Professor Bate originally embarked on the book…

A portrait of William Shakespeare is pic

Poets4Corbyn: Jeremy Corbyn is immortalised in rhyme

21 August 2015 11:32

If you thought Corbynmania was limited to female obsession and male politicians growing their facial hair, it’s time to think again. It…

I wandered lonely as a cloud

The poetic thoughts your pet is having

14 August 2015 16:51

My request for poems by a pet who is cheesed off with its owner generated an entertaining parade of bullied,…

Craig Raine - poet under fire. Photo: Corbis

Why Twitter was right to mock Craig Raine’s poem

4 June 2015 17:44

Yesterday was a strange day on Twitter. For most of it, a living poet was trending. Unfortunately for Craig Raine,…


Craig Raine should ignore the angry feminists – they’re just jealous

3 June 2015 17:00

I don’t know much about poetry, but I know this: whoever Craig Raine’s poem is about, she will be chuffed.…

Craig Raine's poetry has been the subject of Twitter outrage today

Can Twitter not cope with a slightly fruity poem?

3 June 2015 15:58

Something incredible happened today: the Twitterati – used to passing mob justice on telly, celebs and politics – turned their…

Nobel Prize winner and potential Oxford Professor of Poetry Wole Soyinka. Photo: Getty / Edoardo Fornaciari

What exactly is the point of the Oxford Professor of Poetry? And will Wole win it?

2 June 2015 16:24

‘People are terribly interested in the election,’ said Christopher Ricks before his 2004 inaugural lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry,…


Today’s reburial wasn’t about Richard III. It was about Benedict Cumberbatch

26 March 2015 15:07

We should have known it. Today’s reburial isn’t about Richard III. It’s about Benedict Cumberbatch. Isn’t everything these days, somehow…


Why James Elroy Flecker deserves our attention

1 February 2015 14:09

This month sees the Swiss alpine resort of Davos play host to the annual World Economic Forum summit, but it…

Members Of The Royal Family Attend The Commonwealth Day Of Observance At Westminster Abbey

Who cares that Liz Lochhead has joined the SNP?

2 December 2014 15:11

Is it acceptable for writers to sport their political allegiances publicly? In more sensible times you’d hardly need to consider…

John Gielgud as Hamlet: the first young poet-prince

Spectator books of the year: Roger Lewis on hating Sheridan Morley

17 November 2014 11:47

Sheridan Morley was an old enemy of mine, so I was thrilled to see him brilliantly denounced and called to…

Dylan Thomas in 1946. Photograph: Francis Reiss/Getty Images

Dylan Thomas: speeches for Hitler, balderdash for Walton and the true meaning of Under Milk Wood

24 October 2014 11:11

My father came across Dylan Thomas in a Swansea pub in 1947. ‘Chap over there,’ said one of the regulars…


The Foyle prize for poetry will restore your faith in arts awards

6 October 2014 15:10

Those of us who were never destined to be great young poets can probably remember the attempts. I kept my…

The Village. Photo: BBC / Company Pictures / Brian Sweeney

The Village: Sunday-night TV at its most unsubtle and addictive

14 August 2014 16:38

Proof that television has changed a bit since 1972 came with an archive clip shown on BBC4 on Sunday. ‘My…

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 14.29.32

The poet who welcomed war

23 April 2014 14:52

Today, 23 April, the world celebrates the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s presumed birth (and marks with less joy the…

Byron's Muse.

Poetry in motion — and bridges and graves

19 April 2014 15:00

The most recent challenge, to incorporate a list of poets’ surnames — motion, bridges, wilde, gray, cope, hood, burns and…

BAFTA Los Angeles 2011 Britannia Awards - Red Carpet

Ed Vaizey for the BM?

9 April 2014 15:28

There was only one topic of discussion at the launch of Nadine Dorries’s novel Four Streets last night – will…

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Would prisoners kill for her wry, pungent volumes? Image: Getty

Would prisoners kill for Carol Ann Duffy?

30 March 2014 11:34

It is of course shocking that the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling should ban prisoners from receiving books sent by their…


Is Wilfred Owen’s poetry any good?

18 March 2014 14:04

Wilfred Owen, the poet whose work epitomises the horror of the First World War for most people in modern Britain,…


The poetry and poignancy of the Consumer Prices Index

14 March 2014 9:39

Tufted carpets out, flavoured milk in. Canvas shoes in, take away coffee out. Last year we accepted spreadable butter, dropped…

It's time to get drunk on poetry - The Poetry Recital by A Gatty (Image: The Art Archive/ Burcardo Theatre, Rome)

Poemination: the antidote to idiocy

24 February 2014 17:10

Do you know any poems off by heart? I don’t. When I was younger, I used to. My favourite poem…

Chris Bryant personifies the adage that the devil makes work for idle thumbs on Twitter. (Image: Press Association)

Always at my back I hear, Chris Bryant tweeting near

9 January 2014 13:13

Yesterday’s PMQs was a sombre affair, because of the untimely death of well-liked Labour MP Paul Goggins. The party leaders…

Detail from the front cover of 'The Pleasure Ground' by Richard Murphy, published by Bloodaxe.

Interview with a poet: Richard Murphy, an old Spectator hand

10 September 2013 10:30

Richard Murphy was born in County Mayo in Ireland in 1927. He spent part of his childhood in Ceylon (now…

Seamus Heaney, Recipient of 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, In Bologna

Must read: Jenny McCartney on Seamus Heaney and Ulster’s divide

6 September 2013 9:00

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to read Jenny McCartney’s piece in this week’s issue of the…