Patrick McGuinness

Patrick McGuinness’s new collection, Blood Feather, is out in May.

Poem: ‘Landline’

Patrick McGuinness, 16 March 2023

It grew in the hallway beside the pot plant,the ashtray, and the Yellow Pages left ajar.It started under floorboards, unspooledbetween the carpets and their waferings of underlay.

It tracked the skirtings, spined down corners,knew the smell of slippers, insoles crumblingat the heel or toe; it knew the frayed shadowsthat we threw: the address book’s fading numbers

and the crossed-out...

Outside in the Bar: Ten Years in Sheerness

Patrick McGuinness, 21 October 2021

In Uwe Johnson’s work, perspective doesn’t come from a bird’s-eye view but from staying at eye level – from looking and never stopping. His characters are suspicious of any claim that there is an omniscient history.

Diary: Oxford by Train

Patrick McGuinness, 17 June 2021

Edward Thomas​ called the approach to Oxford by train ‘the most contemptible in Europe’. There’s no view to speak of, and the station is a big shed with lots of glass and cheap detailing: blue pillars and PVC fascias. The city’s relationship to the railway, like its relationship to the world, is arrogant but insecure, high-minded but petty. Oxford was offered a...

Their Mad Gallopade: Nancy Cunard

Patrick McGuinness, 25 January 2018

When male poets​ have dramatic, bohemian or tragic lives, it is a triumph of consistency; when they have boring ones, it is a triumph of manly compartmentalisation. The rules are different for women: their tragedy and bohemianism must occlude their writing (while also keeping it marketable), and any gift they display for normality – or, worse, happiness – must be proof of the...

On Rosemary Tonks: Rosemary Tonks

Patrick McGuinness, 2 July 2015

In​ The Waste Land, a ‘young man carbuncular’ makes a play for ‘the typist home at teatime’:

Flushed and decided, he assaults at once; Exploring hands encounter no defence; His vanity requires no response, And makes a welcome of indifference.

Anyone who wants the typist’s side of this brief, bleak encounter might find a version of it in Rosemary Tonks’s...

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