Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy collection of poems, The Price of Stone, is due out from Faber in the spring.

Poem: ‘Ice Rink’

Richard Murphy, 7 February 1985

Reflections of a spotlit mirror-ball, Casting a light net over a pearl pond In oval orbits, magnify my haul Of small fry at a disco, coiled in sound.

On anti-clockwise tracks, all shod with steel, Initiates feel exalted; starlets glide To cut more ice with convoluted skill Practising tricks that lure them to backslide.

Their figure-carving feet have chased my skin With puckish onslaught. Gloss...

Poem: ‘Amazement’

Richard Murphy, 15 October 1981

These are the just Who kill unjustly men they call unjust.

These are the pure in heart Who see God smeared in excrement on walls.

These are the patriots Who starve to give the ravening media food.

These are the martyrs Who die for a future buried in the past.

These are the sacrifice A word imprisoned and a word could save.

Poem: ‘Bookcase for the OED’

Richard Murphy, 24 January 1980

                      All the words I need               Stored like seed in a pyramid To bring back from the dead your living shade   Lie coffined in this thing of wood you made...



28 September 1989

In his review (LRB, 28 September) of my New Selected Poems (Faber) and The Mirror Wall (Bloodaxe), Neil Corcoran got carried away by ‘the new recklessness’ and ‘nonsense’ in British poetry. Eager to demolish ‘Murphy’s classicism’, he gave as examples of the ‘unaccountable’ diction which he said ‘deforms’ my poems two words which his review itself deformed. The verb ‘exuviate’,...

Neil Corcoran confronts the new recklessness

Neil Corcoran, 28 September 1989

For a writer who several years ago published a ‘Manifesto Against Manifestoes’, James Fenton has published his fair share of manifestoes, including a disguised one for a...

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Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

One of Donald Davie’s early poems, and one of his strongest, is ‘Pushkin: A Didactic Poem’, from Brides of Reason (1955). As in Davie’s ‘Dream Forest’, Pushkin...

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