In 1983 the poet P.J. Kavanagh was asked by the Spectator to write a weekly column, for a month. Thirteen years later he was still at it, though now writing longer, monthly pieces. When he moved to The Times Literary Supplement he continued the process of helping to revive and revitalise the once-popular form of the wide-ranging essay. Peter Levi said he was "at his best as good as Hazlitt". "If description is revelation," Derek Mahon said of Kavanagh's poems, "his revelatory gift is prodigious", and many of these pieces are like that in their inventive clarity, their just enthusiasm. They add up to a kind of journal, a life shared.