Review: Darwin: A Life in Poems

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Highly evolved

 

Its title will lead this book to the poetry shelf, but Darwin: A Life In Poems is also a work of history (human and natural), philosophy and, above all, biography. So, are we witnessing the evolution of a new literary species? Perhaps. Drawing on her great great grandfather’s vast body of writing and fusing it with her own original lines, author Ruth Padel weaves poems that tell the story of a boy who ‘dreams himself into the inner gloss of raspberry canes’ and becomes a scientist who ‘thinks of an orang-utan in a pink frock and frills, looking in his eyes, being generous.’
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Review: Ants On The Melon

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Ants on the Melon by Virginia Hamilton Adair

 

     Torn from the sea into the air.
     Some other life may lift it from the sand,
     I do not dare.

It was not that Virginia Hamilton Adair did not dare publish her poems, like the little girl in the verse above who dares not pick up, ‘A shell delicate and turned without fault / Pale, icy, thin as despair.’ more “Review: Ants On The Melon”

Review: Philip Larkin Poems

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

“Reprehensibly perfect”

 

Leaving aside the untimeliness and misery of it, there is something fitting in the fact that Philip Larkin’s death came on the 2nd of December, as another Christmas closed in. The quasi-Pagan season of goodwill combines three of Larkin’s greatest dislikes: social gatherings, family gatherings and expenditure. ‘On the whole I felt pretty depressed over Christmas, & spent some time labelling packages for my executors,’ he wrote to a friend post-Christmas in 1961, at the age of 39, adding that the ‘ghastly’ festival makes ‘life seem blacker & bleaker and generally more savourless.’ more “Review: Philip Larkin Poems”