Different pasts, shared future

‘Every minute of every day, twenty four people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, terror. It’s at times like these that poets speak to us and ask us to reflect.’ Gordon Munro chooses poetry for Refugee Week

We sing a single song: For Manchester

Manchester Arena by Andy Nugent CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Two years ago the poet Tony Walsh wrote and performed We Are Manchester for the twentieth anniversary of the Manchester Arena. Poetry commissioned for a different occasion now takes on searing new significance.

Poetry and the power of simple pleasures

“With Trump in the White House and Britain heading blindly for Brexit, we must not be silent about horrors we witness, but let’s not stop enjoying and sharing simple pleasures’.” Fay Young reclaims the right to joy as a weapon against totalitarianism.

2017 and the idea of utopia

Billed as a year of imagination and possibility to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, 2016 didn’t quite work out that way. 2017, the centenary of the Russian Revolution, offers another opportunity to consider the meaning and value of the idea of utopia.

Talking Turkeys: five poems for Christmas 2016

Turkeys, one black one white, with tails fanned out

At the ragged end of a sorry year Fay Young goes in search of poems for Christmas and finds five offering humour, humanity and even a hint of hope that the world is not definitively going to hell on a handcart: praise to “a writer’s ability to touch people’s hearts with a phrase that doesn’t stop wars but makes people smile.”

Trainlines of poetry

Glenfinnan Viaduct on West Highland Line: photo Martin Deutsch

“There’s romance in railway stations and an emotional tug in the sound of familiar place names. A reminder, I think, of the physical links and feelings joining people in distant places: singular but shared.”

National Poetry Day: mixed messages

“And their message – in printed cards and performance poetry – is that both poetry and libraries matter.” On how Glasgow Libraries and the Big Issue – and countless others – celebrate(d) National Poetry Day.