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Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe’s most recent collection of poetry, Voluntary, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Poem: ‘Edge’

Adam Thorpe, 15 December 2016

The Strandir coast begins with a dirt track, the guttural end of tarmac in a waste

of bared rock, grass and scree, and empty coves where great white trunks

have floated from Siberia: they litter the vast and stony strands

like matches if seen from afar, but down among them now they block our way

in booms of perimeter barriers, logs pale as the long drowned,

stripped of bark to the...

Two Poems

Adam Thorpe, 30 November 2006

Drombeg

County Cork

Between the portals and the axials lay the central slab with its flotsam of euro-cents and hair-bangs, wet-scarred words, a Ryanair boarding pass kept from flight by a pebble.

Just when the grey rain cleared enough to take a photograph and find the atmospherics I’d so looked forward to, your mobile rang.

Our teenage son in Corsica, wild-camping with a hammock in the...

Two Poems

Adam Thorpe, 6 March 2003

Prints

The dollardom shore of big Lake Michigan finds him doing what he did as a boy

by real seas, running alongside them: the land’s hem stitched, he’d look

back upon a long beach emptied by twilight (his spoor blurred as if already

old), and turn it to Avalon, or Crusoe’s island. Even on the edge of Central Africa

he had to change into somewhere else what they would always...

We know you’ve got a thing about us, scuffing the earth at our feet, giving us a voice. Like this.

We know about the groans we’ve heard, the yelps in moonlight, rumours of progeny. Bellies keep pressing us; we decline.

Thunder on the moor and your effeteness assured, we think of us as crown whetted on the storm, not bald queans.

We know about the influx of coach parties; the way...

Poem: ‘Twitchers’

Adam Thorpe, 8 September 1994

For every booming bittern there are ten, for every cliff-stacked gannet mass

there is at least one with his clingfilmed lunch-pack, wringing his socks on St Kilda.

This is surety of sorts. That the index finger will go on twitching till the loch

gives up its greylag, the moor its merlin, that even the chough has its hangers-on

grim-jawed on outcrops where the breakers’ sting assures Him...

Under Witchwood

Adam Thorpe, 10 September 1992

A modern witch is a Witch. The upper case denotes a self-consciousness born of safer times: Witchcraft is now a minority faith to be taken seriously (at least in the States), and there is even a Witches’ League for Public Awareness. They need it. For the broomsticks, black cats, green-hued hags with pointy hats – all the paraphernalia people remember from childhood – have...

Letter

Mistake

30 November 2006

It was with horror that I saw that an error on the part of my finger or mind had substituted an ‘l’ for a ‘b’ in my poem ‘Dromleg’. The stone circle, probably the best-known in Ireland, is of course called Drombeg.
Letter

Recolonisation Issues

14 December 2000

R.W. Johnson suggests (LRB, 14 December 2000) that Africa’s present misery is its own fault, or the fault of its leaders, and that we should consider ‘recolonisation’ as a way out of the ‘impasse’. This is a little like asking the burglars back in to sort out your insurance. In something like eighty years we Europeans managed to screw up Africa’s political structure,...
Letter

Does London exist?

4 February 1999

Andrew Saint’s assertion (LRB, 4 February) that a hundred years ago few ‘had much good to say about Britain’s capital’ is an over-simplification. The general approach in belles-lettres of the time (and not much has changed since) was to match London’s essentially muddled or aporic nature with the intimate muddle of the human heart; the London one loves is the London one...

Adam Thorpe’s new novel

Jonathan Heawood, 18 August 2005

Adam Thorpe’s first novel, Ulverton (1992), was set in a fictional downland village, and traced its history from 17th-century isolation to M4 dormitory town. Thorpe told the story of this...

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Adam Thorpe

Justine Jordan, 29 October 1998

‘You,’ the mother of six-year-old Hugh informs him, ‘are the only white child in the whole of West and Central Africa, that I know of.’ The remote outpost of Empire, made...

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Palimpsest History

Jonathan Coe, 11 June 1992

In her recent collection Stories, Theories and Things, Christine Brooke-Rose was casting around for a generic term under which to classify such diverse novels as Midnight’s Children, Terra...

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