Peter Porter, who has died of cancer, aged 81, was, though Australian by birth, one of Britain's best-loved and most prolific poets. His life and work exhibited a voracious and passionate care for European and humanist culture, especially music, which he valued – though not without a certain regret – even above poetry. Porter was born in Brisbane, Queensland, and was educated initially at the Church of England grammar school there. In 1938, after the early death of his mother, he was sent to board at Toowoomba grammar school, which he later described as resembling a prison camp. "In fact, I'm sure some people did not survive it. They are probably buried in the grounds." He left school at 18 and did not attend university, since his father was unable to afford it. Instead he worked as a journalist in Brisbane, listened to music, wrote plays and was eventually sacked for his "unworldliness". He first travelled to Britain in 1951. On the boat, he met the novelist-to-be … [Read more...] about Peter Porter obituary
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Les Murray coined the phrase "the quality of sprawl", referring to the land of Australia and an ethos and poetics inspired by it; extensive, flexible, exceeding boundaries or measures, genially unconfined. Murray himself demonstrates sprawl: from his teenage years to his current comfortable corpulence, he has been a large man. His poetic corpus is also imposing; his New Collected Poems (2003) - a selection of most but not all his books - weighs in at 577 pages. And he cuts an impressive figure in terms of reputation; critics have ranked him alongside Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott in terms of international fame. He is also regarded as a national poet, the voice - or a voice - of Australia. But "it will be centuries before men are truly at home in this country", Murray once wrote, and his work has embodied some of the difficulties and conflicts arising from the violent history of white settlement - the tensions between the rural and the urban, and issues of inheritance (whether of … [Read more...] about Voice of the outback
Voters would overwhelmingly prefer the short-term disruption of a No Deal Brexit over the chaos of a Jeremy Corbyn Government – and that even applies to Labour supporters. Exclusive new research has found that nearly half of voters – 48 per cent – would be happy for the UK to leave the EU without a deal if the alternative scenario was Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister, while just 35 per cent preferred to have the Labour leader in Downing Street. Strikingly, the analysis of more than 8,000 voters' intentions, conducted by former Conservative Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft, discovered that, among Mr Corbyn's own voters who back Brexit, the figure was 57 per cent for No Deal, against 28 per cent who wanted to see their party leader in No 10. One member of Lord Ashcroft's focus group, quoted in his research, said: 'A Corbyn Government would be worse [than No Deal]. I would actually be scared.' Another said: 'Boris is a whirlwind of chaos, he's a bit like Trump, but Corbyn is a … [Read more...] about Voters would prefer the short-term disruption of a No Deal Brexit over a Jeremy Corbyn Government – including Labour supporters!
Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, the Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar. “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” said Molly Biwer, senior vice-president for public affairs and communications. “The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.“ There was immediate criticism on Twitter. Ellen DeGeneres asked: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.“ Biwer confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, complained to Bill Abbott, chief executive of Crown … [Read more...] about Hallmark Channel pulls same-sex wedding ads under conservative pressure
A BOY of 14 has been arrested for murder after a teenager was knifed to death in a brutal street attack. The 17-year-old victim suffered a horror stab wound to the chest in the savage assault in Bristol yesterday. The boy was rushed to hospital but tragically died a short time later. It's understood those involved knew each other. Specialist crime scene cops trawled the scene and searched a property on Parson Street where the assault took place. Officers arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of murder and he's currently in custody. Detective Inspector Phil Walker, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “We’re carrying out a full investigation into what is clearly a very tragic incident.“Our thoughts are with the boy’s family as they come to terms with their loss and specially trained family liaison officers will be providing them with support.'ISOLATED INCIDENT' “We believe this is an isolated incident involving people known to each other. “A … [Read more...] about Boy, 14, arrested for murder after teenager, 17, stabbed to death in Bristol