Prince Albert and Queen Victoria instructing their children; a political alphabet frames the image. Coloured lithograph by H.B. (John Doyle), 1843. (Wellcome Images)
By MICHAEL CAINES
Zombie-like? Let me explain. In case you're not familiar with it, we started running a TLS Poem of the Week several years ago, when the late Mick Imlah was poetry editor. Mick's early choices, laconically prefaced with some apposite remarks, included Philip Larkin's "Aubade" and Stevie Smith's "Pretty". More recent examples of verses first published in the paper, now selected by Andrew McCulloch for an online revival, include "Re-reading Jane" by Anne Stevenson, "Holbein" by Geoffrey Hill and John Hartley Williams's take on "Le Bateau ivre". These weekly poems have come to reflect a world of possibilities, it seems to me – of the literary imagination from A to Z. . . .