Reading a book of poems can be such a pleasure. There’s the thrill of discovering a poem that absolutely bowls you over, the pleasure of re-reading an old favourite and learning something about the life of the poet or poets whose poetry fills the book. I derived all three pleasures from Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry, Introductions to Great Poets by Josephine Hart. Continue reading “Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry”
You don’t have to know Shakespeare to quote him. Every day we quote Shakespeare, without even knowing we are using his words. He has become part and parcel of our language. Continue reading “Unknowingly quoting Shakespeare”
Why do the most popular love stories have star-crossed lovers?
Think of Romeo and Juliet.
I am not ashamed to admit I was moved by Erich Segal’s Love Story.
Nicholas Sparks’ handkerchief-wetting The Notebook ends with the lovers embracing, but one of them has Alzheimer’s. Continue reading “Graham Greene and The End of the Affair”
Today is the birthday of Jan Morris. In my book, she ranks alongside John Updike, Lawrence Durrell and PG Wodehouse as one of the four finest 20th century writers in English. Continue reading “The wonderful Jan Morris, writer extraordinaire”
After a long time, I came across poems by Kamala Das and Nissim Ezekiel. I found Love, by Kamala Das, in Penguin’s Poems for Weddings, selected by Laura Barber, and Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher, by Nissim Ezekiel, in The Picador Book of Weddings, edited by Peter Forbes. The poems stirred old memories. Kamala Das was a sensation in her time. Here she is on her favourite theme. Continue reading “Kamala Das and Nissim Ezekiel”
Brexit shocked the world. But the writing had been on the wall. It had been foreseen nearly 50 years ago – by an English writer, naturally. Today is his birthday.
JB Priestley (September 13, 1894 – August 14, 1984 ) might have been forgotten by now had his play, An Inspector Calls, not been one of the prescribed texts for the English literature GCSE examination. Only a couple of his books can still be found in Singapore’s National Library Board catalogue. But he was one of the most popular writers and broadcasters of his time. Continue reading “JB Priestley: 50 years before Brexit”
Yesterday was the birthday of DH Lawrence (September 11, 1885 – March 2, 1930). So I read again one of his poems which I have liked ever since I came across it in my last days in high school. The poem is called Piano. Continue reading “DH Lawrence: Piano, and Sons and Lovers”