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Journal, Day Five December 1, 2006: A month or so back the intensively peer-reviewed, internationally respected British medical journal The Lancet suggested that an additional 650,000 people have died in Iraq due to the prosecution of the second Gulf War. And who knows how many more deaths there have been since then? It is such a terrible figure, such an unthinkable number that [...] by

Journal, Day Four November 30, 2006: With their lack of subtlety and inability either to see or apply nuance, both Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett have been seeking to promulgate a kind of militant, proselytizing atheism of late. I’d like to suggest that both should read more poetry. An atheist myself, I’m uncomfortable with their anti-religious stance for a number of [...] by

Journal, Day Three November 29, 2006: Roy Fisher is a Birmingham poet. His often jazz-inspired work shows how place and folk conspire with each other, and inspire each other, in the lives they lead in the landscapes in which they lead them. His is a singular voice: harsh, sometimes crabby but, equally, ironic yet warm and often very funny. This is “Epic”: ‘Stranger, in [...] by

Journal, Day Two November 28, 2006: I read a lot of translated novels and poems. Indeed, the majority of books that I hold most dear weren't originally written in English and so I owe a good deal of my reading pleasure to the skills of translators. We all know what Robert Frost said: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” So, am I only reading pale, neutered versions of [...] by

Journal, Day One November 27, 2006: I’m not one for conflict, but I was pleased to see the rumpus in the US that ensued over Alice Quinn’s Elizabeth Bishop book (Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments), back in March. Poetry isn’t often in the news, being seen as irrelevant to our more pressing, quotidian concerns, and perhaps this is right: [...] by