Writing

  • Including

  • I’ve produced a lot of words over the last two decades. This is not an archive of all of them, but you might call it the edited highlights.

    It includes reportage from Britain and the wider world, book reviews, interviews, debates, talks and other ephemera, culled from Fleet Street papers, magazines, books, the programmes of plays, websites and more.

    Some time ago I also put together some advice for writers, and thoughts on the writing life.

    Here come the neo-greens

    August 1, 2012

    As systems and assumptions collapse, desperate ideas have a better chance of becoming popular.

    Green was the Earth on the Seventh Day

    May 1, 2012

    A book that influenced me: Thor Heyerdahl’s volume of reminiscences

    Burns and Barnes: a tale of two Poets

    January 25, 2012

    The differing fates of two dialect poets may tell us something about the differing priorities of England and Scotland.

    This collapse is a ‘crisis of Bigness’

    September 25, 2011

    The crisis currently playing out on the world stage is a crisis of growth. Not, as we are regularly told, a crisis caused by too little growth, but by too much of it

    Upon the Mathematics of the Falling Away

    July 9, 2011

    Suicide is everywhere in this culture, under every stone, and once you come to be a part of that great, unspeaking clan of people who have been touched by it, you see this.

    The Salmon God

    May 24, 2011

    The late Glyn Hughes summed up his work – the historical novels, the travel books, the semi-autobiographies, the volumes of poetry – as ‘a protest on behalf of nature’.

    The sole business of poetry

    May 5, 2011

    Can poetry save the Earth? No. But it is, perhaps, able to show us the Earth – and our relationship to it – in a way we are not used to seeing it.

    The Quants and the Poets

    April 21, 2011 Or: how the greens torpedoed themselves with numbers, how politics is a front for archetypal emotions, and how we'd all be better off admitting it.

    The Poet and the Machine

    February 15, 2011 Or: how to accept despair and avoid wishful thinking with the help of stoicism and poetry.

    An untutored townsman’s invasion of the country

    November 1, 2010 Last autumn, I moved from the city to the country. After fifteen years in Oxford, and with a young daughter…
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