Tag Archives: John Page


This glossary entry tells the tale of a ghost, a pseudo technical term of Middle English poetics, conjured into being (well, so I would argue) by well-meaning lexicographers.  The Middle English Dictionary defines raf  as ‘crude, worthless verse; a pejorative term for alliterative poetry’.  The Oxford English Dictionary goes a little further, glossing raff as ‘Alliteration; verse, esp. alliterative verse, of a crude kind, or in which sound is more prominent than sense; an instance of such verse.’

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Sticky Poetry

Today is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom, and the theme for this year is ‘Remember’ (particularly appropriate for the centenary of the start of the First World War).  The theme captures the joy of memorising and remembering poems, as well as poetry’s capacity to act as a repository of recollections and memorialisation.  As the Forward Arts Foundation (who run National Poetry Day) says on its website, “poetry is sticky, and stays with you.”

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