Love poems by Brian Patten

I am reading Brian Patten again – after years. I first read his poems in a Penguin paperback called The Mersey Sound. It was an anthology of poems by three Liverpool poets – Patten, Adrian Henri and Roger McGough. It was one of my favourite books and I have written about it before. Now I am once again reading Collected Love Poems by Brian Patten. And the pleasure’s all mine. Here are three poems which unaccountably I failed to mention the first time I read the book. The first poem is on the theme of constancy and the next two are so lyrical!

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The poems of Wendy Cope

Wendy Cope

I read a poem written by Wendy Cope to her husband, fellow poet Lachlan Mackinnon. It was published in the Guardian. One can’t stop at one poem by Cope. She is irresistible as a bunch of grapes or a box of chocolates.

Her short, often light-hearted, poems have a joie de vivre that’s contagious. She can make you smile, feel just the way she wants. Her smooth, conversational style makes poetry seem so effortless. It’s like eating a seedless grape or popping a chocolate in your mouth.

Very often playful, romantic, vivacious, her poems are lively with a love for life that lifts your heart, makes you smile and share her happiness. This little poem shows her wit and humour.

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What’s up, and why, on Facebook and Twitter

The Straits Times coverage of social media on Saturday ignored a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter you can use, like Google, to search for information. Facebook, not quite.

Let me give an example. Jeremy Au Yong, the Straits Times US Bureau chief, wrote about a police officer gunning down 19-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which triggered an avalanche of tweets but hardly seemed to register on Facebook. I could still find some of the old tweets yesterday, almost a month after the incident, using the hashtag #Ferguson. Here are a couple of tweets posted the day after the shooting on August 9. [Read more...]

Oh Boy! Buddy Holly!

Today is the birthday of Buddy Holly, who died young but remains one of the greatest legends of rock ‘n’ roll.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, on September 7, 1936, he started recording in 1956 and had his first hit in 1957 with That’ll Be the Day. Two years later, it was all over. He died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, with two other stars, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, when their small, chartered aircraft flew into a storm in Iowa during a concert tour.

But in his shortlived career, “he wrote more memorable licks — and more hummable hits – than most rockers get in their entire lives”, said the Rolling Stone magazine.  That’ll Be the Day is 39th in Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [Read more...]

David and Goliath

Malcolm Gladwell

We Shall Overcome is one of the greatest civil rights songs. And it is true: some do overcome great odds. But they have to be different – not only courageous and tenacious but also unconventional, as Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book, David and Goliath.

 Underdogs, Misfits and the Art Of Battling Giants is the subtitle of the book – and it is appropriate. This is a book where the underdogs prevail, sometimes by bending the rules.

 Gladwell writes about the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King. He recalls a news photo that shocked America – of a police dog lunging at a schoolboy in Birmingham, Alabama. [Read more...]