Anthony Thwaite

Anthony Thwaite’s latest collection, Going Out, will be published next month.

Poem: ‘Fernando Lobo’

Anthony Thwaite, 23 April 2015

My dark Brazilian friend, seventy years back In Washington. Both of us were foreign, On the edge of Gordon Junior High. After my English prep-school shine wore off, My grades slid down and I lost interest In most things, except stamps and snakes and sex. We visited the embassies, cadging stamps, And messed about off Massachusetts Avenue Playing the hub-cap trick on passing cars (You threw one...

Two Poems

Anthony Thwaite, 28 January 2010


These little steps and quivers Remind me of my mother’s, Yet now they are made by me In part-senility – Gestures and postures passed Across the years, not lost But, as if imitated, Put on and animated By limbs, and flesh, and features, With movements and with gestures, So that what was me Becomes this parody, Shuddering and moving on In jerks, till I have gone For...

Poem: ‘Elegiac Stanzas’

Anthony Thwaite, 4 September 1997

The famous poet’s mistress, forty years ago, Now heard five times a week on radio Acting an ageing upper-class virago.

‘The deadbeats of the Caves de France, the suicidal’, The substance of a novelist’s rapt recall, One who escaped the death from alcohol.

The ravaged visage of a copywriter Who was an intimate of him and her, Encountered at the funeral of another.


Poem: ‘Snakes (Virginia, 1940)’

Anthony Thwaite, 28 May 1992

Down in the creek, snakes: Snakes in the opposite wood. There were snakes everywhere. This was new. This was good.

At home in England, snakes Were pets you kept in a cage. Here they slipped free, and swam. This was a golden age.

Most folk I knew hated snakes, Shrank if I brought one back And let it run over my arm Or gathered and then lay slack.

Whipsnakes, cornsnakes, snakes Swollen, and...

Poem: ‘Elegy for George Barker’

Anthony Thwaite, 21 November 1991

And there, beneath a bull-nosed Buick Inert in Kensington, the poet lay, Grease smeared on cheek-bones, a fallen god Who rose to greet me, seventeen, with Blake And Langland in the triptych. Stay Yet a little longer, genius of the place, Fitting my footprints in the prints you trod, Letting me see those lineaments, that face.

It was apotheosis. It was epiphany. Already there were elegies at...

Better than Ganymede: Larkin

Tom Paulin, 21 October 2010

Philip Larkin met Monica Jones in 1946 at Leicester University College. She was an assistant lecturer there, and Larkin was an assistant librarian. Both had firsts in English from Oxford. Monica...

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Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

There is a story that when William F. Buckley Jr sent a copy of his essays to Norman Mailer, he pencilled a welcoming ‘Hi, Norman!’ in the Index, next to Mailer’s name. A...

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Phil the Lark

Ian Hamilton, 13 October 1988

Philip Larkin, we are told, left instructions in his will that certain of his writings had to be destroyed, unread. His executors obeyed: the word is that several of the poet’s notebooks, or...

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Denis Donoghue, 21 June 1984

One of Anthony Thwaite’s poems, ‘Tell it slant’, swerves from Emily Dickinson’s line ‘Tell all the Truth but tell it slant’ to settle upon an aesthetic...

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Larkin and Us

Barbara Everett, 4 November 1982

‘What are days for?’ asks a poem in The Whitsun Weddings. It’s a good opening line, with that abruptness and immediacy most Larkin openings have. And it’s a good question,...

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Barbara Everett, 7 May 1981

Donald Davie has proposed that Eliot’s Quartets are in some sense a work of self-parody, with ‘The Dry Salvages’ in structure and style parodistic of the quartets that preceded...

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