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According to Time, The Observer, and David Cameron, "we" are at war with IS. This is debated, but if you consider the murder of 30 British tourists in Tunisia by an IS gunman provocative, and if you believe the news reports that 7 major attacks on British soil were foiled this year alone - and that one is pending any moment - you might think that IS was attacking UK interests.

At any rate, the decision facing the British Parliament this week is  - bomb Raqqa in Syria, or not. As is widely known, Labour is divided on this issue, and some Lib Dems and SNP are also unsure it is a wise move, as well as a few Tories; Canada and Australia are not currently bombing Syria, it should be noted. Russia, Turkey, and France, however are, along with the USA.

Mr Corbyn's pacifist leanings are not 'terrorist sympathising' despite what the British Prime Minister has said - it is honourable to question going to war. Furthermore, Britain could and should take far more refugees from Syria, and develop cultural, political, economic and strategic plans for replacing bankrupt leaders and ideologies in the region with those more rational and less fanatical, while respecting the culture and beliefs of the Middle East, and its complex histories and own needs.


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To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.