Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell’s poetry collection Hide Now and his novel The Girl Who Was Going to Die both came out last year.

There’s nothing like a book about music to remind the reader of the silence. Nothing else insists so emphatically on what we are usually happy to forget: that, during the hours we read, our lives have gone quite still, and we are taking a stranger’s word for the world. A landscape, a face, a building, a painting, even a taste, an odour, an emotion: we will readily accept words for...

Vladimir Brik, the hero of Aleksandar Hemon’s third book, The Lazarus Project, had an elderly uncle called Mikhal back in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who liked to be shown family photograph albums and to get his young nephew to point out who everyone was: ‘And here is Aunt Olga, smiling … And that’s you … And there is me.’ ‘Nobody ever found it...

Susan Faludi’s book ‘Stiffed’ is about ‘The Betrayal of the Modern Man’.* What follows is an interview with the ‘Modern Man’.

Can you share any childhood memories with us?

Well ... one night I was lying in bed, pretending to be asleep, waiting for my father to come in. He’d promised that he’d reveal to me a miraculous inheritance.

What was...

Two Poems

Glyn Maxwell, 17 July 1997

England Germany

The boys were risen right out of their seats By the wind the whistle cued, they pushed along In the damp and heavy-coated crowd away From all of it, away from this one song The man beside them knew. Rough cigarettes He’d prodded at them while he had his say About the action. Now where was he gone, They wondered. Not so far: he’d only paused A sec to cup a hand to...

Poem: ‘The People’s Cinema’

Glyn Maxwell, 12 January 1995

As blank as scripture to a ruling class Discussed in hells they do not think exist, Cracked and abandoned to the slicing grass       And disabusing dust, A movie screen shows nothing in a morning mist.

Here’s where the happy endings were never had, Or, like the long and lonely, never shown. No one rode to the rescue of who was good,...

Doors on them now, the automobiles, the black

Grandiose, or red, gold-lined Elegances: flashing along through London, Oxford, the blossoms and lanes.

They stop at the wayside pubs and enthusiasts Boast, munch, wipe, compare. This is the lunchtime that takes forever, Our dads somewhere there.

Then oils and alloys come, so do Enforced windows and speeds, old names Now for the humming and...

Poem: ‘Got me’

Glyn Maxwell, 25 October 1990

Far be it from me to mention things that really happen

but I did go to this fish farm once and did discover this:

that despite the long cold pools of fish outdoors and the bubbling tanks

indoors, and the rocks they sell (one pound fifty for a real rock),

and the age-sloughing smell of green spawnwater and the wavering ferns,

and well, the fishes themselves – not every mother’s son...

Poem: ‘Sitcom’

Glyn Maxwell, 2 February 1989

Father will be pompous but a good soul, Mother will have her pan and grey hair and get him out of scrapes. No he wasn’t touching up that girl, IT WAS REALLY a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t good at cooking but he did try hard.

It will last half-an-hour on empty nights. For the rest, two white heads on parapets. Mother will have her pan. A son and daughter will know what we...

Letter

Why I Quit

10 September 2014

As the only colleague in Marina Warner’s department free of all obligation to our former employer, the University of Essex, I would like to share my recent experience (LRB, 11 September). After my three-year ‘probation’ as a part-time lecturer in creative writing came to an end this summer, I was offered a full-time (1.0) post. I hadn’t applied for one, can’t do one, and...

All the Cultural Bases

Ian Sansom, 20 March 1997

This is tricky. First the facts. In 1936 W.H. Auden persuaded Faber and Faber to commission a travel book about Iceland. He spent three months in the country, part of the time travelling with his...

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Love in the Ruins

Nicolas Tredell, 8 October 1992

In Henry James’s The Golden Bowl, the Prince found by the River Thames ‘a more convincing image of the truth of the ancient state than any they have left by the Tiber’. Of...

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