What exactly is the essence of Belgium? Far harder to pin down than French chic or English sang-froid, the nation’s uneasy mix of Walloon and Flemish, surreal and down-to-earth, all miraculously held together, is perfectly encapsulated by the Atomium – a giant, futuristic structure on the northern edge of Brussels.
Chris Beckett is enthusiastic about poetry’s potential for exploring and explaining family history and cultural roots – and finds examples in recent collections by Nancy Mattson and Anne Ryland
Paul McLoughlin reviews a collection set in the 1930s which recreates a lost age that was both golden and flawed.
Norbert Hirschhorn reflects on a poetry and prose memoir that gives an inside view of the National Health Service at a time when it may be about to change forever.