Skip to main content

Posts

A Poet's Guide to the Lockdown

I recently wrote an article for the Boston-based running outfitters Tracksmith:

As a poet who also runs, I’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking and writing about the connections between athleticism and art; how both are competitive but ultimately solitary, joyful yet defiant, demanding resolve and routine, but also reflection. So how can poetry, or simply writing creatively, help a runner right now?
You can read it in full on their journal.





Recent posts

Two new poems on Wild Court

Two new poems feature on Wild Court: one after a painting by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, the other after spending a good deal of my life watching too much tennis.

You can read 'The Flower Carrier' and 'The Champion' here.

The Nightingale: TLS Poem of the Week

My poem 'The Nightingale', a loose version after Paul Verlaine (1894-1896), is the Times Literary Supplement's Poem of the Week.
Wilkinson’s quatrains, too, have more room in them for emotional explanation than Verlaine’s terse couplets, which bite off each image and snap shut on any recollection of tenderness.
Read the full introduction by Andrew McCulloch, and the poem, here.

God speed

Duncan Hamilton
FOR THE GLORY
The life of Eric Liddell: from Olympic champion to modern martyr
372pp. Doubleday. £20.


The Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Eric Liddell is a rare example of a consummate sportsperson who transcended sport. Duncan Hamilton’s portrait of one of Britain’s greatest track athletes serves as an important reminder of sport’s true value at a time when athletics is marred by scandal, big money and loss of perspective.

Liddell will be familiar to many through the film Chariots of Fire (1981). He is perhaps better known for the race he refused to run – the 100 metre Olympic heat in Paris, 1924, on the principled grounds that his Christian faith forbade him to compete on the Sabbath – than for the 400 metre final of those same Games, in which he defied the doubters to earn a spectacular win. Born to Scottish missionary parents in China, Liddell had no sporting pedigree. He did, however, study at an English boarding school that forged an indomitable character, before …

The Trouble with Poetry: Billy Collins's Aimless Love - review

Dubbed the “most popular poet in America” by the New York Times, Billy Collins has won countless admirers for his chatty, witty, wholly dependable poetry. At pains to welcome the reader with avuncular charm, he writes lines that are more serious than they seem, though by how much, you’d be hard pressed to say. Wry and self-mocking, his favoured territory is the suburban everyday – a pop song stuck in your head; people-watching on public transport; a “perfect” spring day – though he is most at home striking a knowing and self-referential pose, “looking every inch the writer / right down to the little writer’s frown on my face”. ‘If This Were a Job I’d be Fired’, quips the title of one poem, its narrator swanning off having penned the most inconsequential of verses. Philip Larkin would have surely labelled him the “shit in the shuttered chateau”. But while some critics have called Collins a philistine, there is a productive quirkiness to his poems, finding surprise and profundity in unp…