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Interview | Bruce McLean

Bruce McLean is a Scottish performance sculptor who has just written A Lawnmower in the Loft - an amusing and light-hearted collection of snapshot anecdotes from over the years. We stopped by his studio for a chat.       Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your work? That could take a long time. I’m a...

Poetry Prize 2017 Ceremony

On November 2nd 2017 The London Magazine celebrated the winners of the Poetry Prize 2017 with a drinks reception held at Collyer Bristow Gallery. The prizes were presented by Grey Gowrie (Special Editorial Advisor for the London Magazine) and Steven O’Brien (Editor of The London Magazine). Champagne flowed as Steven O’Brien gave a speech praising the winners, quoting E.E. Cummings:...

An Interview with Frieda Hughes

We caught up with Frieda Hughes, one of this year's Poetry Prize 2017 judges. Although this prize has now closed, Frieda will begin reading your entries in the coming weeks. In this interview, she gives poets advice on how to make  tells us why she loves judging poetry competitions You’ve got an exhibition in Chichester Cathedral this summer, along with...

Poetry London Summer Readings: Rachael Allen, Andrew McMillan, Vahni Capildeo and Emily Berry

Poetry London’s summer launch opened with an impassioned speech by the poet Karen McCarthy Wood, who is a trustee on the magazine’s board. The magazine is known for its support for ‘new and emerging poets’, Karen says, noting that one third of each issue is devoted to poets who have yet to publish a first collection. New names are...

Joel Shapiro at Pace London

Walking into the Joel Shapiro exhibition at the Pace gallery is like entering a painting, as a friend of mine said when she first saw the exhibition. Seven of Shapiro’s sculptures are positioned in the white gallery space, filling it with blots of vibrant colour. Several of these volumetric shapes are suspended from the ceiling on thin cords; others...

An interview with Patricia McCarthy

We spoke to Patricia McCarthy, one of the judges for our Poetry Prize 2017, who gave a bit of advice on entering this year's competition. As well as editing the poetry journal Agenda, you’ve also had many of your own collections published, including two titles due to be released this year alone (Rockabye from Worple Press and Shot Silks from Waterloo...

Through it by Ila Colley

This is not throwing plates, how you ask me. Too late for that. This is a whisper dissection. This is a beggar’s hand in my mouth. This is the quiet I forget in, shy hiss of the gas left on. Wish with  this. This decanted antidote isn’t fit for everyday use, you with this inevitability, this mimetic healing from behind windows. This only on the road minutes at a time, this...

Poetry at the Print Room: Kayo Chingonyi, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Daljit Nagra

Plush red cushions. Red floorboards. Flickering candles and the walls hung with a myriad of mirrors. We were sitting in the luxuriously lit Print Room at the Coronet theatre in Notting Hill, admiring our lush surroundings. On one side of the sloping room, a grand piano had been transformed into bar, where poets and listeners were ordering wine and...

The First Time They Lowered The Flags by Peter Ainsworth

The first time they lowered the flags The President bowed his head. The next time they placed flowers To mourn the dead. The time after that they held A two minute peace. Then they got worried That it wouldn't cease - The silences were harder To achieve by now As it was commonplace. There was some row About lowering flags All the time and condolences And messages of sympathy And endless silences To record the...

Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors at the Gagosian

The Minotaur was a key figure in Picasso’s imagination and art, so much so that the artist once remarked that ‘If all the ways I have been along were marked on a map and joined up with a line, it might represent a Minotaur’. Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors seeks to investigate and illuminate this map, querying what the Minotaur,...

Hardwrought Works

War Music, Christopher Logue, Faber, 2015, edited by Christopher Reid, 341pp £20 (hardback) Spills, Angela Leighton, Carcanet, 2016, 183pp, £12.99 (paperback)   Homer’s Iliad has been adored – not too strong a word – for over two thousand years. English readers have thrilled in previous centuries to translations by Chapman and Pope. One of our greatest living poets, Alice Oswald, recently tightened...

The Vintage Poetry Showcase: Ocean Vuong and Kayo Chingonyi

Ocean Vuong and Kayo Chingonyi’s recent reading is one of the most spectacular that I have attended. R. A. Villanueva introduced the event by noting that the audience would be hearing ‘Poetry with a capital “P”’, praising the ‘staggeringly brilliant’ debut collections of the two poets. When you read their books, he asserted, ‘you start feeling this thing in...

Internet Poetry by Paul Gittins

In the seventh of his twelve lectures as Oxford Professor of Poetry, the late Geoffrey Hill took issue with the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, over her assertion in a Guardian interview that poetry was a form of texting. Hill, who was ‘policing his patch’, retorted that texting was no more than a truncated form of communication.  In view...

Faber Reading: An Evening with Emily Berry, Emma Jones, Zaffar Kunial, Daljit Nagra, Richard Scott

The Crypt on the Green in Clerkenwell Close was beautifully lit with fairy lights, and the low chatter of poetry enthusiasts graced the air. A table was filled with books and pamphlets by Emily Berry, Emma Jones, Zaffar Kunial, Daljit Nagra, and Richard Scott, while another table was laid out with glasses of wine. We were here to hear...

Lisa Brice at the Stephen Friedman Gallery

In 1959 Yves Klein wrote: “blue has no dimensions.” For him, all other colours could be relegated to specific associative ideas that they arouse. Blue on the other hand is boundless and “suggests at most the sea and the sky.” Throughout art history, many works have testified to the infiniteness of blue. 17th century paintings of the Virgin Mary...

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery

According to a new exhibition of Howard Hodgkin’s work at the National Portrait Gallery, one of the artist’s principal concerns throughout his sixty-five year career was to ‘evoke a human presence in his work’. Absent Friends is dedicated to an exploration of Hodgkin’s portraiture in all its guises – an area of the artist’s work that curator Paul Moorhouse...

An interview with Paul Benney

If you walk along one of the leafy roads from Hackney Downs and turn down a little side street, you may just find yourself at an old printworks. Now known as Hackney Down Studios, the space houses a collection of creative studios and workshops, including that of the London-born artist Paul Benney. Stepping in from the bright street to...

An interview with Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson MBE is a poet and writer, published in thirty-seven languages, who has received international prizes in the US, India, Macedonia and Bosnia. A Fellow and Council member of the Royal Society of Literature, she’s published twenty-seven books, received the Newdigate Prize, a Cholmondeley Award, Hawthornden Fellowship and numerous awards from the Arts Councils of England and Wales,...

Acrostic by Sudeep Sen

(R.I.P. Derek Walcott: January 23, 1930 – March 17, 2017) Deep seas of yesteryears wash new froth on your home shores. Egrets, sea gulls, circle the ruddy skies waiting for perfect thermals to Rise — ripe air-currents — wingspans larger than civilizational memory. East tries to meet West, North tries to meet South, Poles magnetize in a Kaleidoscopic churning — saturating the sea-sky’s azure,...

Malraux, Camus and the Nobel Prize

André Malraux (1901-76) was born in a bourgeois quarter of Paris, Albert Camus (1913-60) in a working-class district in the provincial Algerian town of Oran. Despite their different backgrounds they had significant emotional, intellectual and aesthetic affinities. Camus’s father was killed on the Marne in October 1914; Malraux’s father committed suicide in December 1930. Camus begins The Myth of...

My London

Venetia Welby is the author of Mother of Darkness, published by Quartet Books, February 2017. This is the twenty-first article in our regular series of “My London”. The streets of Soho teem with the ghosts of its past. Here Dylan Thomas staggers out of the French House leaving his manuscript of Under Milk Wood under a chair; here Francis Bacon...

The Past Beneath Our Feet

September in the Rain by Peter Robinson, Holland House, September 2016, 280pp, £11.99 (paperback) Collected Poems by Peter Robinson, Shearsman Books, February 2017, 518pp, £19.95 (paperback) Roy Fisher has noted how unusual it is in English poetry nowadays ‘to find a writer of Peter Robinson’s sophistication occupying himself with what appears, at least, to be autobiography’. Fisher warns us of the...

Lenses from Somewhere: A Memory of Ted Hughes

After I reviewed Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being for the TLS, Ted Hughes wrote to me. He was very wounded by the reception of the book, which had been harsh and often sneering. In the letter, he imagined himself caught in the malignant circuitry of Measure for Measure: I knew that our academic friends would leap into the...

Short Story Competition | Prize-Giving Ceremony

On Tuesday 28th March 2016 The London Magazine awarded the winners of the Short Story Competition 2016 during a drinks reception on the House of Commons Terrace. The prizes were presented by the guest of honour, Stanley Johnson, who praised the pleasantly unique and vastly contrasting stories. Judge Erica Wagner was also in attendance. We would like to thank all applicants to the Short Story Competition...