Staying alive: me and Mr MacCaig

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There’s a sequence in one of Eddie Izzard’s shows where he’s riffing on supermarket shopping. At some point he remarks that if an old lady bumps you with her shopping trolley (which, by the way, will contain only hairnets and dog food) she’ll tell you, for no apparent reason:

I’m eighty- two.

 She’ll probably say it quite loudly.

I’m eighty- two. Old ladies do this all the time. Old men n...

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The Great Fogginzo's Wider Web

Readings and open mics: a beginner's guide

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Extraordinary to be sitting in the sun, in a T-shirt, watching blackbirds nest-building in the hawthorn. This time last year it was snowing. A poet friend of mine, Zoe Walkington, says poetry is a winter sport. I think she’s got a point. Always nice to see open mics and workshops start to fill up in...

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The Great Fogginzo's Wider Web

In it to win it: a guide to success in poetry competitions

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Let’s get something out of the way right from the beginning. The odds of your winning a poetry competition are dramatically increased if you enter. Simultaneously, so are the chances of losing, but no...

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A northern voice: accent, rhythm, and texture

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Sometimes I think I like the names of the northern Dales as much as the hills and the valleys themselves. Wharfedale, Ribblesdale, Nidderdale, Swaledale, Langstrothdale, and this one, Arkengarthdale, ...

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The Great Fogginzo's Wider Web

Ted Hughes, eco-criticism and the common reader

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“What do I want in a critic of poetry? I am a slow and basic reader: clarity, first of all. Everything else, the enthusiasm, the insight, even little bits of esoteric knowledge, can all come later. I ...

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Whose life is it, anyway? Writing poetry about real people

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A couple of years ago, I was writing in my own blog, the great fogginzo’s cobweb, about the way I had found myself conflicted about learning things about my granddad’s life that that didn’t fit with p...

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Knowing your place: locating the poetry of landscape

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Poetry and ‘landscape’. This lodged in my mind last week, probably because I’ve just finished an essay/review/guest blog post which has taken me, one way or another, more than nine months to write. It...

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Overlooked poets, open mics ... and how a blog got its name

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I started blogging around the same time as my friend and co-organiser of Puzzle Poets Live, Bob Horne, set up his poetry publishing venture Calder Valley Poetry. We both support the same poetry events...

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The Great Fogginzo's Wider Web

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