Carol Rumens

Carol Rumens‘s latest collection of poetry, De Chirico’s Threads, is published by Seren Books.



23 February 1995

Reviewing Peter Levi’s Edward Lear: A Biography (LRB, 23 February), E.S. Turner comments on Lear the limerick-writer: ‘Notoriously, he often squandered the fifth line by making it a lazy variant on the first, whereas, we are told here, it should serve as a sudden crescendo, with a rhyme like a stone from a catapult. An obscenity, Levi says, is always a great help.’ By whose authority are Levi...


23 June 1988

David Trotter raises some interesting points in his discussion of Seamus Heaney’s The Government of the Tongue (LRB, 23 June), but at times his enquiry seems less than generous, and even quibbling. For example, the notion that ‘lyric action’ can constitute ‘radical witness’ evokes his exasperation and also reduces him to a strange mixed metaphor (‘tricky questions … rocking the vessel...

Poem: ‘Seroyeshky’

Carol Rumens, 22 May 1986

We broke slim boughs to stir and sift the leaf-mould.

I was befogged by earth-colours, my earthbound sight an Axminster

of swirling oak-leaves, beech-mast, till I had trimmed my focus

to detail, even acquired a touch of your magical foresight.

Seroyeshky, you called them: mushrooms for eating raw,

but better cooked, you said, in spite of the nickname.

Some were pale red, some amber; the slugs...

Poem: ‘Visiting the Ruminators’

Carol Rumens, 17 September 1981

They flop their big, blunt heads over the wire like dim children penned in hospital cots. Eyes roll, and a silvery iris-petal unfurls to lick the salt from my bare arm. Then each takes it in turn to show its backside in a long, lumbering furniture removal. Bored with my love, they lean to their emerald feast. They never tire of it. They are factories building themselves in many meat-hung...

Shah maat – the King is dead

It’s like an examination – or some vast dinner party where the guests sit in pairs and politely demolish each other. Your ranks of hunted shoulders and frowns attest the passion of the quest. For you are unravelling a childhood, inching back. You cross the polite, hushed street – its pawn cars in a line, its mitred evergreens – and...


Tom Paulin, 1 August 1985

Recently I received a somewhat smug letter from one of the editors of PN Review asking me to contribute to yet another symposium on the state of critical chassis which still persists in Great...

Read more reviews

Moving Pictures

Claude Rawson, 16 July 1981

Peter Porter’s imagination tends towards the epigram, but not quite in the popular sense which suggests brief, pithy encapsulations of wit or wisdom: Believe me, Flaccus, the epigram is...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences