Peter Howarth

Peter Howarth teaches at Queen Mary, University of London, and is an assistant curate.

If​ you’ve ever played the Game of Life, you’ll know it’s hard to feel like you’re losing. Players choose a college or career path, get paid a salary, and set off through life spinning little wheels to acquire experiences, pets, pay, spouses, pay, houses, and more pay. There are no affairs, wrong decisions, illnesses or serious losses, only relative degrees of...

In the Hothouse: Swinburne

Peter Howarth, 8 November 2018

Swinburne​ was proud of sticking to his guns. In the dedication to his collected Poems (six volumes, 1904), he declared himself a writer who ‘has nothing to regret and nothing to recant’, who ‘finds nothing that he could wish to cancel, to alter, or to unsay, in any page he has ever laid before his reader’. Since these pages included the 1866 Poems and Ballads, whose...

The last sentence​ of Poetic Artifice reads: ‘But like all true artificers “I” remains enigmatical, presenting only the words on the page.’ Veronica Forrest-Thomson has been trying to rescue Sylvia Plath’s ‘Purdah’ from the critics who think the poem is a straightforward confession of her desire to avenge herself on Ted Hughes. ‘Why she should...

On Nicholas Moore: Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth, 24 September 2015

‘What became​ of that wave of energy in the 1940s?’ Denise Levertov wondered in 1965, looking back on her place in Kenneth Rexroth’s 1947 anthology, New British Poets. ‘Many of the 1940s poets seem to have dropped right out of the scene.’ Was their ‘failure to develop’ their own fault, she wondered, or the result of a gigantic ‘failure of...

By spring​ 1919, Robert Graves was a demobilised war veteran, a new father and the author of four volumes of poetry. At this moment came ‘the first poem I wrote as myself’, as his autobiography describes ‘Rocky Acres’. After surviving years of front-line bombardment, a shell splinter through his right lung and the postwar influenza epidemic, Graves had returned to...

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