John Donne is Alive

Earlier this year I wrote a short article for the British Library website about John Donne.   It’s intended for ‘A’ Level students, but I said some things I wanted to say about the moment by moment nature of Donne’s poetry. It’s amazing but weirder and weirder the closer you look at it. https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/a-close-reading-of-donnes-song-go-and-catch-a-falling-star

Watching Chess

I watch a lot of chess. (I also watch skateboarding and, more recently, surfing.) I mean on YouTube mostly, though sometimes live. I’m not a good chess player, and although I’ve learned something about openings, tactics, strategy and endgames, I’m still a patzer. (Chess word for rubbish player.) I’m not sure exactly what it is […]

The Three Virtues of Martin Amis

I have been taking this blogging business too seriously; trying to come up with finished statements, rather than put something out. I doubt I’ll be able to change, but here goes. It’s usually easier for any generation to acknowledge the qualities of the generation above the one above them – not the mothers, the grandmothers. And […]

Lara Pawson in Conversation about This Is the Place to Be

As part of the Birkbeck Summer lecture series, the wonderful Lara Pawson came along to talk to Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA students, and to me, about writing and other things. It was one of the best events we’ve ever hosted. Lara was extremely open and full of insights. You can listen to the podcast here: […]

Writing Well and Writing to Get Well 5 Podcast

What can writers and teachers of Creative Writing learn from psychiatry, neuroscience, and other medical disciplines about the links between creativity and mental illness?   On the evening of Friday 26th May 2017, in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck, Professor Kay Redfield Jamison gave a reading from her amazing medical and poetic biography, Robert Lowell: Setting […]