Clare Bucknell

Clare Bucknell’s The Treasuries, a book about poetry anthologies, will be published in February. She is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

Every morning​, between reciting the Hail Mary and beginning their lessons, the children at St Dallan’s Catholic primary school near Belfast do ‘The News’. News, in this community, might mean many things: that someone’s father, perennially out of work for ‘kicking with the wrong foot’, has managed to find a job; that the pop group Mud has gone to number...

To Hans Kepler, the Imperial Mathematician, trying to defend his mother by taking an analytical view of the situation, Leonberg is like a depressing morality play; its population a typical collection of sinners. ‘This one had always been envious; that one had always been willing to lie for personal gain. This one had denied his mother Communion. That one was known to be violent.’

At the National Gallery: Artemisia

Clare Bucknell, 4 March 2021

Light​ falls on the side of a woman’s upturned face, travels over her right shoulder and forearm and then down to her thigh and knee. The limbs are dense and opaque, the solid curve of the upper arm mirroring the heavy bent leg with its bluish shadows of muscle. The flesh is massive but yielding: the woman’s left breast bulges and puckers like real tissue as she grasps it between...

Figureheads

Clare Bucknell, 19 November 2020

In​ 1660, a Commonwealth warship called HMS Naseby sailed to the Dutch Republic to bring the new king-in-waiting home to England. During its journey the ship was renamed the Royal Charles in honour of the Restoration, but her figurehead – a vast carving of Cromwell on horseback, wearing laurels and ‘trampling six nations under foot’, as John Evelyn put it – remained...

At  Pizzeria  Vesuvio, somewhere in South London in 2003, the difference between being a chef and being a waitress isn’t just professional. Nia and Ava, who work front of house, are British and European, white or – in Nia’s case – white-looking; Shan, Guna and Rajan in the kitchen are Sri Lankan Tamils, refugees from the civil war working illegally...

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