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.

About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing ( which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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