Drama and poetry, Black Roses, leaves on the line: Mr Armitage goes to Washington

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Simon Armitage is famously from Marsden, as is Write Out Loud. I walked past his dad the other day, during my morning constitutional; and here I was attending his and Peter Oswald’s reading at the Folger Shakespeare theatre in a subzero Washington DC, just one block away from what has been described as the most powerful place on earth: Capitol Hill. Here to visit family and take in the local poetr...

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Marsden the poetry villageStateside diary

Open mic and music at the Bowery - and a Seamus Heaney poem on the subway

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One of the great strengths of the Write Out Loud poetry gig guide is the possibility of organisers using it to “claim a date”, to avoid the sort of frustrating duplication that occurred last and, it seems, every Monday in New York, New York. The Bowery is one of the two go-to poetry open mics in tha...

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Stateside diary

Tantalising language, but finger-clicking, too: interpreting Rae Armantrout

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I didn’t previously know Pulitzer prize-winning, West Coast Language poet Rae Armantrout or her work, though we had conversed. She asked if I would mind her seat. Of all the possible choices of text a...

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Stateside diary

Philip Levine, America's 'blue collar' poet laureate of the industrial heartland, dies aged 87

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American poet Philip Levine has died aged 87. He was widely known here as a poet of the working class. He was a "large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland”, according to Edward Hirsch, largely...

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Stateside diary

How does US open mic measure up?

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This was my first time at a US open mic. What to expect? Would I make some horrendous cultural gaffe, a poetic equivalent of, say, not understanding the infield fly rule [a rule in baseball] ? Or my a...

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