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.

    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…

    Journey to the Dark Mountain

    July 20, 2010

    An attempt, back in the early days, to explain to a festival audience, and perhaps to myself, what the Dark Mountain Project is about.

    Progress and the land

    June 1, 2010

    Our aggressively ‘progressive’ culture doesn’t seem to be able to talk intelligently about land and place. What’s it scared of?

    Confessions of a recovering environmentalist

    April 30, 2010

    My most talked-about piece of journalism by a long way. An account of a personal journey through environmentalism, and a lament at what it has become.

    England is the unheard word

    April 23, 2010

    English governance is a canker at the heart of our crumbling constitution. The UK is broken, but the political class won’t talk about it.

    Oak, ash and thorn

    January 20, 2010

    A historical fancy commissioned for the programme of the play Jerusalem, written by Jez Butterworth and performed in the West End in 2010 and on Broadway in 2011.

    From Munich to Copenhagen

    November 8, 2009

    How many more National Trust tea rooms will have to be submerged under eight feet of water before we can grasp that the future is not behaving in the way it was supposed to?

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