Archive for March, 2015

10 T. S. Eliot Poems Everyone Should Read

March 27, 2015

Interesting Literature

T. S. Eliot is widely regarded as one of the most important poets of the last hundred years. Here at Interesting Literature we’re devoted fans of his work, and this got us thinking: which ten defining poems would we recommend to people who want to read him? Although he didn’t write a huge amount of poetry (compared with, say, his contemporary Ezra Pound, whose The Cantos is nearly 800 pages), it can still be difficult for readers to pick out those works which most define him. And, of course, every Eliot fan’s choice of ten is likely to different. Here are our recommendations, in the form of a countdown, from 10 to 1 (1 being what we think is the best). As we take you through our suggestions, we’ll drop in a few interesting snippets of information – the story behind the poem, or its surprising legacy, and so on…

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T. E. Hulme: The First Modern Poet?

March 27, 2015

Interesting Literature

Who wrote the first modern English poem? When – and, indeed, where – was it written? There are numerous candidates, but one could do worse than propose the answer ‘T. E. Hulme, in 1908, on the back of a hotel bill.’

Hulme1This poem, ‘A City Sunset’, would, along with a handful of others by Hulme, set the blueprint for modern poetry. If we most readily associate ‘modern poetry’ with brevity, precision of language, understatement, unrhymed verse, written about everyday and often very ordinary things, then we owe many of those associations to T. E. Hulme.

Hulme was a larger-than-life figure in virtually every way. Standing at over six feet tall, with a ruddy complexion, a willingness to argue with anyone (or, indeed, to fight them: he once famously boxed with Wyndham Lewis in Soho Square), he hailed from Staffordshire, the county that nearly two centuries before had given the world…

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10 Short Poems by T. E. Hulme

March 27, 2015

Interesting Literature

The best T. E. Hulme poems, which can be read in a few minutes and enjoyed for a lifetime

We’ve written about T. E. Hulme (1883-1917) before, in this previous post on his importance as a modern poet. In this follow-up post, we’ve put together ten of Hulme’s shortest and sweetest poems – most of which were written in around 1908-9 when Hulme was in his mid-twenties. These helped to light the touchpaper for modern English poetry, influencing Ezra Pound and imagism (Hulme’s prose writings would also later influence T. S. Eliot). Our founder-editor, Oliver Tearle, has written a little book arguing for the importance of Hulme’s poetry, so if this post whets your appetite for more, his book is available from your favourite bookstore (and if it isn’t, then, as Joan Rivers liked to say, get a new favourite). Anyway, here are the poems.

The following short…

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March 19, 2015

Abegail Morley



The sixth Battered Moons Poetry Competition will be open from 16th March 2015 to all UK residents aged 18 or over and accepts poems on any topic and style of up to 40 lines. Guest judge Pascale Petit and Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton will both read all the poems.

The 3 winners and 4 commended poets will be invited to read their poems at the Poetry Swindon Festival on Saturday 3rd October 2015, when Pascale Petit will present the prizes and read from her own work. Winning and commended poems will appear in the Battered Moons pamphlet and website.

First prize, £700; second, £200; third, £100, plus four commendations of £25 each. Entry fee: £5 for the first poem and £3.5 thereafter. Closing date for entries is 30th June 2015. On-line and postal entries accepted. For further information and to enter online, visit .


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10 of the Best Books about Literature

March 18, 2015

Interesting Literature

10 great books for literature-lovers, from surveys of English literature to treasure-troves of trivia

Christopher Booker, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. A monumental, weighty tome that shows how all fictional narratives from folk tales to novels and films follow essentially seven basic plot forms, such as ‘overcoming the monster’ (Beowulf, Jaws). Riddled with typos, but if you can put up with them, this book is illuminating and entertaining.

Gary Dexter, Title Deeds: The Hidden Stories behind 50 Books. An engaging book full of fascinating information about some of the world’s classic books, and the stories behind how they came to be called what they’re called.

Gary Dexter, Why Not Catch-21? This is an earlier book on the same theme as Title Deeds and just as much fun.

B. Ifor Evans, A Short History of English Literature. Now sadly out of print, this delightful little Pelican paperback…

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The Woodman’s Tale by Mary Gilonne

March 18, 2015

Three Drops from a Cauldron

The Woodman’s Tale

If it’s night he should know it,
but her hair glows, leafed with the falling
and forests are always possibilities
of other things.

If light fails, follow darkness
in my eyes she says, unfolds the map
engraved on her, marks him with a cross
and draws him in.

She scatters words like pebbles
stepping stones of sound, tastes
of mossy glades, ripe apples, nourishment
he’d never known.

Hard to feel the morning loss
to imagine dawn anchored eastwards
the vessel of her sailed, flaming masts of trees,
an aftertaste of sawdust, knots.

Mary Gilonne is a free lance translator ,originally from Devon but has been living in France near Aix en Provence for many years. She has been short listed twice for the Bridport prize,  published in online magazines, and considers poetry to be as essential as food and wine.

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Maurice Devitt – The Politician’s Wife

March 18, 2015

The Stare's Nest

The Politician’s Wife

admires the spangle
of fresh confidence
in his step,
the words plucked
from absent conversations,
his hands, their movement
as lips start to quiver
and how the camera
finds a face
she has never seen.

After a career in business Maurice Devitt completed the Poetry Studies MA at Mater Dei in Dublin, focusing on the poetry of James Wright, John Berryman, Charles Bernstein and others. During 2014 he was runner-up in Over the Edge New Writer Award, short-listed for Poets Meet Painters, Cuirt New Writing Award, The Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Competition and selected for The Cork Spring Poetry Festival.  Over the past three years he has had 80+ poems accepted by various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, India, Australia and Mexico. He is a founder member and chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

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Robert Nisbet

March 17, 2015

The Open Mouse

The Attendant Lord

Super Mum, King Dad, trudge
miles of coast path underfoot.
Enjoy, says the rucksack’s swing.

The filial appendage,
the attendant lord, sixteen,
trails in their wake.

(A routed part of him
is back in the arcade,
the caff, with Jess’n’Em.)

He mounts a psychic onslaught
on hearties coming through,
guns them down cliff-face scree.

Two older girls, of twenty-four,
swing breasts and baggage past.
A mind’s brief brilliant blossom.

Then, lingering, for just a while,
a melancholy throb. (O Jess’n’Em!)
He sinks then to the long diurnal trek.

Copyright © Robert Nisbet 2015

Robert Nisbet was for some years an associate lecturer in creative writing at Trinity College, Carmarthen. His poems appear in magazines like The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Dream Catcher, The Journal, Prole and Scintilla.

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Keep reading the poems

March 17, 2015

Geraldine Green – Greek Woman, Corfu

March 16, 2015

The Stare's Nest

Greek Woman, Corfu

Today I swam with a woman
who sang to the seagulls

she sang of midnight
she sang of poverty
she sang of fear
she sang to the sea.

Today I swam with a woman who sang of the broken

she sang to the sparrows
and she sang to me.

She sang of winter, of hunger and starving.
She sang of sorrow, she sang of greed.
She sang of hope, the fallen and dying.

Today she sang her song to me.

She sang of the spring that lives in her island
she sang of its wars, its people, its famines.

She sang of Athens, soup kitchens, hunger
of people queuing for food from Crete –
onions tomatoes bread and water.

She sang to the seagulls she sang to me.

She sang her song of cleaners and soldiers
she sang of the sailors, the driven, the hopeless
she sang…

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