Why can’t we have happy poets?

‘Great poetry needs to be sprung with tension, not to sag into familiar comfort like an old sofa’

Bath time with arias and graces

‘Rather than Paris, I ended up in Bath, exchanging bohemian liberty for cosy politeness’

Mortal thoughts in a timeless place

‘Those ‘aha!’ moments come more rarely but with special pleasure to the middle-aged’

Poetry’s true objective

‘I’ve been trying to deal with the old subjective v objective chestnut since the age of 12 or 13’

My Brahms box of wonders

‘Here comes the admission: as a teenager I did not like Brahms’ symphonies at all’

A stitch in the fabric of time

‘Seeing these clothes, I couldn’t help thinking about the women who had once worn them’

The frauds squad

‘Are people suffering from impostor syndrome merely pretending to be impostors?’

Reflections on another civil war

‘I don’t want anybody to go through what we went through,’ said one of the Basque refugees

Rules of distraction

‘Distracted pedestrians are a problem but distracted drivers are a more serious nuisance’

Stirred, not shaken

‘Shaken is a process that comes from outside; stirring starts within and moves outward’

Poetic words of war

‘Wilfred Owen delivered an almost mortal blow to the Roman poet Horace’s reputation’

Lessons in love from the ancients

‘We don’t speak much about love any more; we would rather talk about relationships and sex’

Old Europe shores up its future

‘What does heritage mean, exactly?’

The peril of precocity

‘The poet Patrick Shaw-Stewart worked so hard to win the scholarship that all his hair fell out’

Actions speak louder than words

‘I think he wanted to enjoy the time that was left, every minute of it, not talk about it’

Premiere of a long-lost opera

‘With their latest discovery, “Fantasio”, I think Opera Rara have struck gold’

Among the ghosts of Fleet Street

‘During journalism’s golden age, a reporter was urged to go out and have lunch more often’

A port for all storms

‘The choice could be expressed as a question: is port a Portuguese or a British wine?’

A long overdue pilgrimage

‘And then there was the parrot. Haydn bought it in London and it lived with him for 19 years’

Why work so hard?

‘Keynes predicted that by the early 21st century the working week would be cut to 15 hours’


Harry EyresHarry Eyres established the FT’s Slow Lane column, which celebrates the creative use of down-time, in January 2004. Before that in a varied journalistic career he was a theatre critic and arts writer for The Times (1987-1993), wine editor of Harpers & Queen (1989-1996), wine columnist for The Spectator (1984-1989) and the first and so far the only Poetry Editor of The Daily Express (1996-2001).

In addition to his journalistic work Harry Eyres is a published poet, editor of LSE Environment, the newsletter of LSE’s Centre for Environmental Policy and Governance, and teaches London theatre for a consortium of American universities. He wrote the Beginner’s Guide to Plato’s The Republic for Hodder & Stoughton’s Beginner’s Guides to Great Works series.

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