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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, […]

Poems for Valentine’s Day

Here are some wonderful love poems for Valentine's Day. It is an eclectic collection, ranging from Ben Jonson to John Donne, Andrew Marvell and Robert Burns and going on to WH Auden, John Betjeman, Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, Wendy Cope, James Fenton, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Leah Furnas and […]

Essential Pleasures: Homage to Hips

I have been reading Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud, edited by Robert Pinksy. Readers will find plenty of old masterpieces here, such as Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Ulysses by Tennyson; but, as Pinsky says in his introduction: "I have also worked hard to […]

Two poems about Singapore

One poem leads to another. Reading Reflecting on the Merlion: An Anthology of Poems edited by Edwin Thumboo and Yeow Kai Chai, and co-edited by Enoch Ng, Isa Kamari, and Seetha Lakshmi at the public library, I wanted to read more poems about Singapore. And, as luck would have it, […]

A book of poems about the Merlion

At the pubic library, I came across a book of poems entirely about the Merlion, the lion-headed, fish-tailed icon of Singapore. The book is called Reflecting on the Merlion: An Anthology of Poems. It's edited by Edwin Thumboo and Yeow Kai Chai, and co-edited by Enoch Ng, Isa Kamari, and […]

Billy Collins’ witty Obituaries

Perhaps the best known poem on old age written in the last 50 years is Philip Larkin’s The Old Fools, which appeared in High Windows, published in 1973. It rails against old age, beginning with the verse: What do they think has happened, the old fools, To make them like […]

Billy Collins on his old typewriter

I am reading the poems of Billy Collins for the first time. And what can I say? Imagine Keats living into middle age, developing a dry wit and writing poems about domestic life without rhymes – but still showing flashes of his youthful romanticism. That’s Billy Collins. Collins, who was […]

Auden on moon landing

I just came across this poem by Auden and liked it so much I wanted to share it here. Many of his poems are popular favourites and found in anthologies. For example, In Memory of WB Yeats, September 1939, Refugee Blues, The Unknown Citizen, If I Could Tell You, Look […]