Review: Learning to be Very Soft by Callan Waldron-Hall

Callon Waldron-Hall was one of the recipients of last year’s New Poet’s Prize, an annual competition organised by The Poetry Business. His debut pamphlet, Learning to be Very Soft, was published in June and is a worthy prize-winner.    Written in clear, unadorned language with gentle, fluid rhythms, the poems use everyday experiences – a car […]

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Review: Science Poems – an Anthology from Penteract Press

Penteract Press has a reputation for focussing on formal, constrained and experimental poetry, for exploring the interface between poetry and visual art, with careful attention to detail in their publications. Science Poems, an anthology edited by Anthony Etherin and Clara Daneri and featuring work by Christian Bök, Gary Barwin, M D Kerr, Kyle Flemmer and Pedro […]

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Poet to Poet: Eavan Boland on Grace Hopper

Tributes have been paid around the world to Eavan Boland, the Irish poet, feminist and academic who died on the 27thApril. Her writing is distinguished by clarity and depth, by the precision of her language and her ability to pull together details of simple, everyday experiences, opening our awareness to their profound underlying truth. A poem […]

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Spreading kindness: a tribute to online poetry communities

The margins of decision-making can be fine. This morning I awoke with a mild sore throat and a headache. In normal circumstances I would not give any thought to these very minor symptoms: but these are not normal times and, being a dutiful citizen, I contemplate the need to self-isolate.  Until this moment self-isolation, like […]

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Review: Ode to Numbers by Sarah Glaz.

In her poem ‘A Woman in Love’, the mathematician and poet Sarah Glaz describes herself as seeing ‘a streak of mathematics/ in almost everything’. The title of her collection of mathematical poetry, Ode to Numbers, is taken from a poem by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda which invokes the passion of mathematical curiosity, the urge […]

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James Clerk Maxwell: physicist and poet

When my husband and I first moved to Aberdeen in 1983, we stayed briefly in a house on Clerk Maxwell Crescent.  It shames me now to admit that at the time I had only the vaguest idea who James Clerk Maxwell was, despite having studied electromagnetism as part of my undergraduate degree.

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Review: Smoke that Thunders by Eveline Pye

Mosi-oa-Tunya – the Smoke that Thunders, also known as the Victoria falls – straddles the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. From its broad, smooth-flowing course across a flat basalt plain the Zambezi river suddenly plummets down a fissure in the rock, foaming and churning into the narrow gorge over a hundred metres below. I remember […]

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Poetry and Mathematics

…the forces that divergent guide my life are like two teams of horses straining at my heart. Yet I contain no vacuum – and am slowly torn apart. This snippet of a poem, written when I was seventeen, expresses the conflict I felt between my passion for the arts and for the sciences, specifically between […]

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Beginnings

Was it like that for you as well, when you were at school? Words lived. They had histories, back-trails to ancient Greek rhetoric or Roman sensibility, to mediaeval French farms, soggy lowland water-meadows, absurd colonial rituals. They sang, they danced, with their own characteristic rhythm and energy. You could play with words, write stories, compose […]

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