Poems Please Me

“I rhyme for fun”Robert Burns
News, inspiration and fresh, new poems.

Three richly-illustrated eBooks of winning poems in Poems Please Me competitions. Read online.  All these and other poems also on the Poems page.

Red on Bone 66 pages
(give it time to respond)

Pure Silver 43 pages
Movement 16 pages
plus a pdf of 10 shortlisted poems
Well, booger me gently!

Poems Please Me is privately sponsored,  sharing a love of poetry.
The Poetry Bookshop (regularly restocked)
 makes for a fascinating browse – selected for Poems Please Me by Amazon

Poetry News Worldwide
For the full story click the links. For earlier news of lasting interest visit News+ . For extra, more frequent posts, visit Poems Please Me on Facebook

‘CAPITALS’ – poems on 185 national capital cities contributed by 173 eminent poets from every continent, including Derek Walcott, Mark Strand, Vijay Seshadri and George Szirtes. To be published by Bloomsbury towards the end of January 2017. Full report here. – Dec 2016

BILLY COLLINS again (see below) – more depth, more interesting – honest and straightforward – how simple the best poets can make it all sound… a ‘must view’. How Collins writes/approaches writing a poem – Dec 2016

A SERIES of short videos by Billy Collins, the USA’s acclaimed poet. Here’s the first… How to Write Poetry – Dec 2016

Phillip Larkin – Poets’ Corner tribute in Westminster Abbey. Telegraph – Nov 2016

heaneySeamus Heaney (left) who died in 2013. A review of the collected works of “probably the best-known poet in the world”. Irish Independent.  – Nov 2016. (2014 article)

Hera Lindsay Bird is fast becoming cult New Zealand poet with her raunchy and personal verse. The Guardian – Sept 2016

Two female war poets from the Middle East: an in-depth article on MARAM al-MASRI from Syria and Kurdish BEJAN MATUR. The Guardian – Sept 2016

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield. Report & audio interview discussing ‘window moments’ in poems – where they change direction or give a new insight. NPR books – Aug 2016
Paul Durcan. Most playful poet in Ireland. New book reviewed. The Irish Times – Aug 2016
Alice Oswald. ‘Falling Awake’ – encounters with nature. Original images in reviewed book. The Guardian – July 2016
Geoffrey Hill Tributes to ‘a poet of immense gifts’. The Guardian – July 2016
Rabindranath  Tagores – unpublished poems to see the light of day. Indian Express – Jun 2016
Sappho of Lesbos. Science maps night sky described in 2,500-year-old poem, pinning down time and place. Ars Technica – May 2016
T S ELIOT. Informative article – a book review – of his complete letters, his notated poems/scraps, in two volumes. Reminds us of the sad story of his wife, confined to a mental asylum – his own retreat into Christianity. Spiked/Modern Times – Feb 2016
J R R Tolkien – early poems discovered, published, in 1930s’ school magazine. The Guardian. – Feb 2016
The Poetry Archive in London celebrates its first ten years. Initiated by Andrew Motion & Richard Carrington. Link to explanatory Archive Newsletter. – Feb 2016.
“What Use is Poetry?” Extraordinary, a wonderful talk by Meena Alexander to the Yale Political Union in 2013. World Literature Today – Feb 2016.
Today’s best poet’s. Detailed article/opinion piece based on T S Eliot Prize. Telegraph article. – Jan 2016
Physics & poetry. In-depth interview with Peter Middleton of Southampton University. Notably during the Cold War. His father was a code-breaker at Bletchley Park in WWII. Inside Higher Ed. – Jan 2016.
Andrew McMillan is the first poet to win Guardian £10,000 first-book prize. The Guardian. – Nov 2015
Charlotte Bronte. Lost poem of 17-year-old Charlotte recovered. At one time in a chest on shipwrecked vessel off Devon coast. The Guardian. – Nov 2015.
Vikram Seth. In-depth interview in The Hindu plus a recording of one poem. – Nov 2015
Ted Hughes. Interview with Jonathan Bate, author of a new, unauthorised biography. NPR. – Oct 2015
Balachandran Chullikkadu. Link to the Malayalam poet on Wikipedia. – Sept 2015
Connie Roberts. Article on the poet, mother, assistant professor who emerged from Ireland’s notorious church-run ‘industrial school’ system. New York Times. – Sept 2015.
Colin Simms Collection of poems about the endangered hen harrier hawk, with beautiful photos in the article. The Guardian – Aug 2015.
John Fowles Story of finding his first, lost, unpublished love poem in France. The Guardian – Aug 2015
Iran’s Ayatollah has road-map for Islamic poetry in the Republic. Asharq Al-Awsat – article. – July 2015
William Carlos Williams. The story of the African-American street worker who owned the real ‘red wheelbarrow’ used as an image by Williams. New York Times. – July 2015.
Katherine Mansfield. Nearly 30 previously unknown poems discovered in Chicago library. The Guardian. – June 2015

J S Harry

J S Harry, 1939-2015

J S (Jann) Harry. Biog of Australia’s adventurous poet. Creator of Peter Henry Lupus, the philosopher rabbit, making sense of a world riddled with wars (Jann spent time in Baghdad), environmental issues, and destructive technology. Sydney Morning Herald. – June 2015
Philip Larkin refused Oxford poetry professorship nomination. Letter + verse discovered. The Guardian – June 2014.

Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes On The Joys Of Poetry: ‘Poets Are … The Decathletes Of Literature’. HuffPost interview. – May 2015
Vijay Nambisan. Review of his book First Infinities. This from a winning poem, Madras Central – ‘Hissing into silence like hot steel into water…’ Hindustan Times – May 2015
President Barack & First Lady Michelle Obama talk about poetry. The White House. – May 2015
Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry. Wole Soyinka, AE Stallings, Ian Gregson, Seán Haldane and Simon Armitage compete. The Guardian. – May 2015.
Clive James A review of Sentenced to Life – poems from death’s door. The Guardian. – Mar 2015
What poetry offers and writing prompts. Thoughtful opinion column by Elizabeth Austen, Washington state’s poet laureate for 2014-16. Includes links to a series of short video writing programmes – ‘poetry prompts’. The Seattle Times. – May 2015
War poetry Jessie Pope and WWI. A look at popular poet of the time and what schools teach now. BBC News Magazine. – May 2015.
Wislawa Szymborska. Article on quiet, Nobel prize-winning Polish poet (1931-2012) on publication of collected works. New York Times – Apr 2015
Hamdah Khalfan Al Mansouri. Empowered by poetry. A powerful and moving account. The National, UAE – Mar 2015
Lake Isle of Innisfree. Lovely full article and beautiful photos, explore the lakeside and the region. Very evocative. New York Times. – Apr 2015.
Nick Cave and Online publishing. Innovative publishing mix by poet-singer-author. New York Times – Apr 2015
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH in the USA. Here’s an article celebrating all the new means of ‘delivering’ poetry – on buses, with short movies, on social media… the world of poetry is buzzing. Huffington Post. – Apr 2015
Frank Stanford. Review of first collected poems of prolific 29-year-old poet who committed suicide in 1978. New York Times – Mar 2015

Aice Oswald

Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald. Guardian portrait (2012) – Mar 2015
Tracks, trails, country pathways. Popular poets recalled and readers’ contributions too. Guardian blog – Mar 2015.
Clive James. Incredibly moving interview – BBC recording of 3rd April BBC Radio 4 broadcast: BBC Radio 4
Andrew Motion gives background and poems to his award-winning programme ‘Coming Home’, about soldiers returning from Afghanistan. BBC Blog – Apr 2015
Jon Silkin. England’s ‘lost’ poet. An anthology at last. Guardian book of the week. – Mar 2015
Tomas Transtromer Swedish Nobel-winning poet dies at 83. New York Times – Mar 2015
What makes for ‘good’ poetry? An in-depth thoughtful interview with poet Jane Hirshfield, Chancellor of the American Academy of poets, following publication of a collection of essays. From the equally thoughtful newspaper, the Huffington Post – Mar 2015
Catching up with CANADA. Blog (Sept 2012) reviewing refreshing changes in Canadian writing. Globe & Mail – Mar 2015
Kate Tempest. Rapper, spoken word artist and playwright. Mix hip-hop, Blake, Greek gods, mix ‘great writers and rhymers’. Article & review of young London poet. New York Times article and Kate rapping at Glastonbury 2013 YouTube – Mar 2015
Dylan walk. A two-mile trail inspired by a poem that Thomas wrote on his 30th birthday, with views over his Laugharne home and workshed. BBC news back in 2012. – Mar 2015
WWI Books, films, songs, poetry – selected list in San Fran’s SFgateGATE – Mar 2015
Yashika Graham. Young Jamaican poet featured – & her visit to Bristol in ’14. The Gleaner – Mar 2015
“Live long and prosper.” Poet & actor Leonard Nimoy dies. Times-Call local news – Mar 2015
Ireland’s favourite poem Selection of quotes and reasons… reporting RTE’s search. Irish Times. – Mar 2015

Paula Meehan

Paula Meehan

Paula Meehan. The Dublin poet at age 60 – a ‘voice for the disenfranchised everywhere’. Irish Times. – Mar 2015
‘Alligator Pie’ Verses for children. Article about popular Canadian poet Dennis Lee. National Post – Feb 2015

Clive James

Clive James

Clive James on poetry ‘Poetry Notebook 2006-2014’ reviewed. The review itself is a worthwhile read in The Guardian – Feb 2015.
Another take on Cerys & Dylan. A must-read for Dylan fans. Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas. The Independent. – Feb 2015
Dylan Thomas sung by Cerys Matthews Setting Dylan to music – two links here, to a track and to her article. Play YouTube vocal and Guardian article. – Feb 2015
“The best book about poetry…” Review of ‘On Poetry’ by Glyn Maxwell. 2012 Guardian review – Feb 2015
Wikipedia – a wealth of resources A page of helpful links added to the Poems Please Me main menu (above) and here. – Feb 2015
Shakespeare’s sonnets Thoughtful essay – in fact, it’s a New York Times book review. NYT – Jan 2015

Rod McKuen (1933-2015)

Rod McKuen (1933-2015)

Rod McKuen – his 81 ‘Seasons in the Sun’ Prolific, award-winning songwriter/poet dies, aged 81.New York Times – Jan 2015
T S Eliot The young Eliot – a long (rather heavy) review of a long (rather heavy) book, in The Spectator – Jan 2015
Thomas Hardy Max Gate – Hardy’s town house (re-opens March) and nearby cottage (open all winter).Link to Telegraph article when house first opened to public and link to up-to-date National trust opening time, etc info. – Jan 2015
Patricia Smith Honours for poetry – a previously ‘inventive’, disgraced journalist. New York Times – Jan 2015
Indian poetry in English 11 new books to read in 2015. Reviews and brief poems. See article in ‘Scroll.in’ – Jan 2015

From a Voltaire chapbook showing man being tortured in C18th

From a Voltaire chapbook showing C18th torture

What is a ‘chapbook’? Strange, isn’t it, how you don’t know a word, then come across it twice within five minutes in completely different places? As a poet, and publicist, I was fascinated to discover ‘chapbook’. See Wikipedia illustrated page on chapbook – Jan 2015
Sex, violence and the sea ‘Mesmerisingly carnal’ says the reviewer… writing of Scottish poet Robin Robertson and a new book of poems. New York Times – Jan 2015
5 British poets to watch in 2015 – an American critic’s view. Huffington Post – Jan 2015
Manohar Shetty Vivid, clear images from Goa. Link to review here: New Indian Express and/or READ A POEM (click on ‘Look inside’) from 12-poem Kindle sampler of his new book Living Room. – Jan ’15
T S Eliot BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 4th Jan 2015 at 5.30-6.45pm. ‘Words & Music’, readings by Simon Russell Beale, on 50th anniversary, to the day, of Eliot’s death.
catPoetry by cats & dogs! Two US bestselling books (one shown right) NPR – Jan 2015
Bees. Alert to many poems about these vital creatures. Informed comments from The Guardian blog – Jan 2015
Seamus Heaney Two new hardbacks – too late to get as Xmas presents now, you’ll just have to buy for yourself or borrow… The Independent (7/12/14) – Jan 2015
Famous poets’ personalised greetings cards Unusual cards & current NY exhibition described & illustrated in The Guardian blog – Dec 2014

Earlier stories are archived on News+ and other linked pages


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The Poems Please Me website was created, is maintained and server facilities paid for by Tony French who lives in East Devon, UK. “My aim is to stimulate the writing of fresh, accessible poetry.” 

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