Anthony Thwaite reading from “Going Out” at his Enitharmon Press launch: does this video prove him to be our greatest living poet?

It was a magnificent evening! Anthony Thwaite was on top form reading from his new collection “Going Out” and some poems from his wonderful back catalogue. The great and the good were truly there: there were some very famous novelists, including Alan Hollinghurst, David Lodge, Penelope Lively, Blake Morrison, John Spurling and, my wife, Erica Wagner; famous biographers including Hillary Spurling and Anthony’s wife, Ann; famous poets including Fleur Adcock.

I was struck by the sense of mortality that pervaded Thwaite’s poetry: he explored issues connected with religious faith, grief at his friend Peter Porter’s death, and speculation about his own demise. His control of both verse form, imagery and emotion remains as incisive and thought-provoking as ever. He proved himself tonight I think our greatest living poet; watch the video and judge for yourself.

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Anthony Thwaite’s ‘Kanji’ — a poem about learning, language, children and Japanese culture

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‘Old South’ — Thwaite’s poem about memory, passing on & the Civil war drummer boy…

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Anthony Thwaite’s poem ‘Arabic Script’ — the majesty, power and terror of language

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Anthony Thwaite discusses his longer sequences of poems on Libya, Japan, Victorian England and St Augustine

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For Louis Macneice — Thwaite’s moving tribute to his colleague at the BBC, one of our greatest poets

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‘Girdle Round the Earth’ — Thwaite’s funny, politically incorrect satire on Shakespeare

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