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The Intellectuals and the Masses: Modernism against the Crowd

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle revisits a classic study of modernist culture and snobbishness

John Carey’s The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939 was published in 1992, over a quarter of a century ago now. The book explores how writers of the early twentieth century – intellectuals as such H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Wyndham Lewis, E. M. Forster, and others – conceived of, and wrote about, the majority of their fellow human beings (the ‘great unwashed’ to use Bulwer-Lytton’s phrase), in disparaging and often jaw-droppingly unsympathetic terms. Carey’s book also shows how this idea of ‘the masses’ was useful to the intellectuals, such as the modernists, in providing them with a mainstream populism which they could then set themselves up in opposition to.

John Carey is one of the greatest living critics. His The Violent…

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I Awoke to Ravens Cawing

I awoke to ravens cawing.

Their voices sawing

Through my mind.

No peace can I find

From the bird of ill omen

Who mocked the Roman

As he withdrew from these shores,

The bird’s caws

Lost in sea and oars.

Book Review: The Writer’s Pen by K. Morris

My thanks to Audrey Driscoll for reviewing an advanced copy of my forthcoming collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and other poems”. Kevin

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

Kevin Morris’s latest collection of poems is now available on pre-order at Amazon UK.

Here is my review of an advance copy…

This latest collection by Kevin Morris consists of 44 pithy reflections on life, death, and passing time. Some of the subjects and themes are the same as in Morris’s earlier collection, My Old Clock I Wind – nature, the seasons, clocks, sex, and mortality. A group of longer poems explores what might be called current affairs.

The tone of these works is darker and more serious than the earlier collection. I recognized no humorous poems, although a wry humor is present in some of them, such as “Libidinous,” in which the poet wonders about the activities of nymphs in a budding wood. “Summer” contains the delightful lines “Now ’tis the fashion / For short frocks / And tiny socks.”

I especially appreciated a sequence of several poems…

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Disconnect- Michael Erickson

Go Dog Go Café


flashing lights, slamming doors, honking, yelling, saws running, drills cracking concrete, exhaust thrumming from tailpipes, people jostling against one another, spaces filled with things, towering buildings, phones ringing, beeping notifications, vibrating messages, words tumbling from mouths speakers microphones, obligations that pull, responsibilities that push, attention divided, regrets made, promises kept, secrets confided, stress shared, overwhelming tasks, reminders that bind

They end here.

Wash these cobwebs from my body with water touched by light.

Plant my feet in rich dark earth.

Let me grow where the power lines end and the unending world begins.

Michael is a husband, father, writer, poet, and aspiring author. He finds time to scribble down his thoughts in the dead of night, between ghosts and night owls. If you’d like to read more of his poetry follow the link here. Or to visit his full blog, ‘The Ink Owl’ click here.

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Kevin’s poetry to be featured on the World Poetry Reading Series, at 1:10 pm on Thursday 9 August

Just a reminder, that I shall be reading my poetry at 1:10 pm pst this evening, on Vancouver Co-op Radio’s The World Poetry Reading Series. This equates to 9:10 pm (UK time).


I am pleased to announce that I shall be appearing on Vancouver Co-op Radio’s The World Poetry Reading Series,, at 1:10 pm PST, on Thursday 9 August.

I shall be discussing (and reading from) my forthcoming collection “The Writer’s Pen And Other Poems”.

I am grateful to Ariadne Sawyer of The World Poetry Reading Series for her kind invitation to appear on her show. I hope that you will join me this coming Thursday.

For those of you who are unable to do so, I shall link to the podcast of the show once this becomes available.

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A Short Introduction to the Haiku

Interesting Literature

An overview of the haiku as a poetic form

Many of the things we think we know about the Japanese poetic form of the haiku are inaccurate, if not downright incorrect. The common perception, or understanding, of the haiku might be summarised as follows: ‘The haiku is a short Japanese poem containing 17 syllables, following a tradition, and a name, that remains unchanged after centuries.’ There are, however, several problems with such a definition of the haiku, which this short introduction aims to address and make clear.

Although the haiku as a verse form is centuries old, the word ‘haiku’ isn’t. Indeed, it was only surprisingly recently – as recently as the end of the nineteenth century, in fact – that people started referring to these miniature Japanese poems as haiku (never ‘haikus’: the plural is the same as the singular), when Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) began referring to them as

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