Updike’s last poems
Reading about Robin Williams’ death, I wanted to read what writers wrote in their last days, in their illness or old age, when they knew they were about to die. That is how I came across these poems by my favourite writer, John Updike.
A man’s reach should exceed his grasp: Browning
Poor Andrea del Sarto. A successful Italian painter who was overshadowed by his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. We admire the works of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael while Andrea del Sarto is almost forgotten. Yet that is what makes him more like most of us. We may not be remembered outside our own…
The art of Billy Collins
Billy Collins, who turned 72 yesterday (March 22), was once called the most popular poet in America by the New York Times. I love some of his poems that speak to me like a friend, telling stories in intimate, picturesque detail; I listen, completely spellbound, unable to interrupt, and the words linger in my mind…
A love poem with shades of Donne
I read this love poem a few days ago on The Writer’s Almanac run by Garrison Keillor and it reminded me of John Donne. It is witty and playful like Donne’s love poems.
Two lovely poems and a Singapore state of mind
People talk of a New York state of mind (below are the lyrics of the song by Billy Joel). Surely, there’s a Singapore state of mind, too.
Life Cycle of Common Man: Howard Nemerov
The American poet Howard Nemerov was born in New York on this day (February 29) in 1920. He died on July 5, 1991. This poem of his reminds me of Auden’s The Unknown Citizen. This is what the poet himself said about his poem: “Life Cycle of Common Man is probably a bad joke about…
Auden: Poem on a painting
It was Auden’s birth anniversary yesterday. He was born in York on Feb 21, 1907, and he died in Vienna on Sept 29, 1973. I love many of his poems, and when I saw this picture of a painting which inspired one of his famous poems, I could not resist having it here. So here…
Gong xi fa cai! And a poem on Singapore
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his Chinese New Year message says: Ultimately we all want to make Singapore the best home in the world for ourselves, our families and our children. We all want ours to remain an inclusive, meritocratic society where every child has the chance to realise his dreams and aspirations.…
World Cup poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
A new poem by the poet laureate in response to England’s dismal Fifa World Cup run. The Shirt by Carol Ann Duffy Afterwards, I found him alone at the bar and asked him what went wrong. It’s the shirt, he said. When I pull it on it hangs on my back like a shroud, or…
Auden’s September 1, 1939
If asked to name my favourite poem by WH Auden, I would probably say In Memory of WB Yeats though I like any number of his poems: The Unknown Citizen, Lay Your Sleeping Head My Love, O Tell Me the Truth about Love, Funeral Blues, Refugee Blues, Night Mail… See, the list doesn’t include one…