Author Archives: Matt Willing

This week’s poem is “On the Birth of a Son” by Su Tung-Po: not so much a celebration of a new child as an indictment of ministerial incompetence. Then he’ll be happy all his daysAnd grow into a cabinet minister. Su Tung-Po (1037—1101) Poem 253. On the Birth of a Son Families when a child is bornHope it will turn out intelligent.I, through intelligenceHaving wrecked my whole life,Only hope that the baby will proveIgnorant and stupid.Then he’ll be happy all his daysAnd grow into a cabinet minister. This is a short satirical poem written by the classical Chinese poet Su Tung-Po (also named Su Shi). He was much involved in the political landscape of Song dynasty China and experienced a number of reversals throughout his career. This poem is perhaps one factor in his mercurial fortunes, and it’s as biting today as it was nearly 1,000 years ago, with the…

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This week’s poem is “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) and marks his 190th birthday.

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This week’s choice is “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” by Dylan Thomas, which I have chosen to mark the passing of a much-loved uncle.

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This week’s poem is “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes, one of the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance.

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This is a brief list of podcasts I have enjoyed listening to over the last several years.

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This week’s poem is Jenny Joseph’s “Warning” which I have chosen because it is light-hearted but carries a great message.

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This week’s poem is the traditional celebration of friendship and good times sung at New Year parties across the world that is generally attributed to Robert Burns.

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This week’s poem was suggested by my mother, who found it in an old newspaper clipping. It is called “Dear Old Aunt Maud” and it was written by Bill Knott, the restaurant critic of The Telegraph at the time, who has gone on to write for The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and The Oldie, and is an ambassador for Action Against Hunger.

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This week’s choice is “The Confirmation” by Edwin Muir, reflecting the moment when we find that special someone.

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This week’s choice is “Faces” by Kahlil Gibran which reminds us that a face can conceal or reveal.

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