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John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

Archaic Figure 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 113 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 571 15043 8
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Tourists 
by Grevel Lindop.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 85635 697 2
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Sleeping rough 
by Charles Boyle.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1987, 0 85635 731 6
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This Other Life 
by Peter Robinson.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 85635 737 5
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In the Hot-House 
by Alan Jenkins.
Chatto, 60 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3312 0
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Monterey Cypress 
by Lachlan Mackinnon.
Chatto, 62 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3264 7
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My Darling Camel 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 64 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3286 8
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The Air Mines of Mistila 
by Philip Gross and Sylvia Kantaris.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 1 85224 055 5
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X/Self 
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 131 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 0 19 281987 9
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The Arkansas Testament 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 117 pp., £3.95, March 1988, 9780571149094
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... in every language, Therefore unreal, out beyond a gap No one can cross, figures inside a mirror. Charles Boyle – a stouter Carcanet poet – would sooner lose his touring bike, his rucksack, all his travellers cheques, than admit such diminution. Ranging between London and North Africa, Israel and somewhere (close to Jamestown?) called Merriland, his new ...

Idaho

Graham Hough, 5 March 1981

Housekeeping 
by Marilynne Robinson.
Faber, 218 pp., £5.25, March 1981, 0 571 11713 9
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The Noble Enemy 
by Charles Fox.
Granada, 383 pp., £6.95, February 1981, 0 246 11452 5
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The Roman Persuasion 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 297 77927 3
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... law: ‘The sheriff thought of all the fugitives haunting America at that moment and sighed.’ Charles Fox is English by birth, long settled in America. He has written for a wide variety of magazines and this is his first novel. Within the field he has chosen he has clearly nothing to learn. Back home again, as the newscasters say, that branch of fiction ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... Chatterton could ‘do’ any poet from Chaucer to the recently dead Charles Churchill; and after his own death poets ‘did’ him. This stanza from ‘Bristowe Tragedie or the Dethe of Syr Charles Bawdin’, is a blend of the Spenserian antique and ballad poetry, a combination which uses phrases that are heard again in Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’: How dydd I know thatt ev’ry darte Thatt cutte the airie waie Mighte nott fynde a passage to my harte And close myne eyes for aie? ‘Half the poetry of the 18th century is probably written by him,’ a character says in Peter Ackroyd’s novel Chatterton ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 8 September 2016

... Ginsberg had sex with him – was already living outside San Francisco with his wife, Carolyn Robinson. In 1955 Rexroth presided over a famous poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. Ginsberg read the first section of Howl; two younger poets, Michael McClure (early twenties) and Gary Snyder (mid-twenties), read on the same night. So did Lew ...

Charmed Quarantine

James Wood, 21 March 1996

Soul Says: On Recent Poetry 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 266 pp., £15.95, June 1995, 0 674 82146 7
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The Breaking of Style: Hopkins, Heaney, Graham 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 100 pp., £18.95, January 1996, 0 674 08121 8
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The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Redefinition 
by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 137 pp., £7.99, April 1995, 0 571 17078 1
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... of them with her calm, uncreased prose – John Ashbery, James Merrill, A.R. Ammons, Amy Clampitt, Charles Simic, Dave Smith, Seamus Heaney, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham and Rita Dove. Vendler is in love with the lyric, indeed so in love with it that she befriends strangers who appear to resemble it: in her collection of review-essays, Soul Says, she converts ...

Swift radiant morning

D.J. Enright, 21 February 1991

The Collected Letters of Charles Hamilton Sorley 
edited by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Cecil Woolf, 310 pp., £25, November 1990, 9780900821547
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Ivor Gurney: Collected Letters 
edited by R.K.R Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 579 pp., £25, February 1991, 0 85635 941 6
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... Charles Sorley must have been the most brilliant of all the young poets who died in the First World War. Yet ‘brilliant’, with its flashy, brittle connotations, isn’t the right word. He was undeniably clever, and forthright, but also good-humoured and modest, often very funny, shrewd and serious, but never (the young man’s vice) priggish ...

Paliography

John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... his name and dates of birth and death. This has proved to be an exaggeration. Thanks to Kenneth Robinson (whose revised Wilkie Collins, A Biography came out in 1974) and now, preeminently, to William Clarke, we now know much more – especially about Collins’s family affairs, or scandals, as they would have seemed to his contemporaries. As its title ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: The Belfast agreement, 18 June 1998

... protect the mainland’. McCartney has campaigned vociferously with Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson against the Agreement – in April, at the launch of the United Unionist campaign, he gave the clenched fist salute – and though most people regard him as a provincial politician, his policy of trying to make Northern Ireland permanently part of the ...

In Fiery Letters

Mark Ford: F.T. Prince, 8 February 2018

Reading F.T. Prince 
by Will May.
Liverpool, 256 pp., £75, December 2016, 978 1 78138 333 9
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... introduction to the poem, published for the first time in 2015 by the Perdika Press, Peter Robinson suggests that to issue such a piece in the homophobic 1950s might well have proved ‘controversial’. The homoerotic charge Ashbery detected in Prince’s early poems is often what makes their Yeatsian rhetoric suddenly catch fire, driving the poem ...

On (Not) Saying What You Mean

Colm Tóibín, 30 November 1995

... poor Michael Davitt and his Land League only got a look in because they represented a headache for Charles Stewart Parnell. History was Daniel O’Connell, Parnell and John Redmond, who led the Irish Parliamentary Party in Westminster after Parnell. My grandfather had been interned after the 1916 Rising, and sometimes when the older generation in my family ...

You must not ask

Marina Warner, 4 January 1996

Lewis Carroll: A Biography 
by Morton Cohen.
Macmillan, 592 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 333 62926 4
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The Literary Products of the Lewis Carroll-George MacDonald Friendship 
by John Docherty.
Edwin Mellen, 420 pp., £69.95, July 1995, 0 7734 9038 8
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... authentic tone of enraptured and impotent yearning. Morton Cohen is, however, at pains to rescue Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (‘Lewis Carroll’) from this galère, and to present him as a well-rounded, sociable man, inspired by deep religious convictions, motivated by generosity and altruism towards his large family of brothers and sisters. His ‘...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... and apologists. Hitler’s American admirers included Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh. General Motors, DuPont and IBM did business with the Nazis. So did MGM. It’s no shock to see democratic politicians cosying up to Saudi autocrats, or Rupert Murdoch or the Walt Disney Company ingratiating themselves with China’s ...

Dreamland

Jonathan Lamb: 18th-century seafaring, 20 March 2003

Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason 
by Glyn Williams.
HarperCollins, 467 pp., £8.99, March 2003, 0 00 653213 6
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Voyage to Desolation Island 
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, translated by Patricia Clancy.
Harvill, 177 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86046 926 4
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... was left blank in his journal. ‘A damn’d unhappy part of the World,’ his second-in-command, Charles Clerke, reported, ‘just as destitute as a Country can be.’ To take possession of such a place was a waste of time and energy – ‘an essential loss’, he called it – and to chart it was ‘nothing but a trifling point of geography’. The ...

‘Stravinsky’

Paul Driver, 23 January 1986

Dearest Bubushkin: Selected Letters and Diaries of Vera and Igor Stravinsky 
edited by Robert Craft.
Thames and Hudson, 239 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 500 01368 3
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Stravinsky: Selected Correspondence Vol. III 
edited by Robert Craft.
Faber, 543 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 571 13373 8
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... Stravinsky debonair in double-breasted suit photographed in Los Angeles by his friend Edward G. Robinson; a merry Stravinsky at a recording session (of The Rake’s Progress), one hand holding a cigarette, the other in conjunction with a whisky bottle. The implacability of the man stays stamped on his photographed features till the end – strongly marked ...

tarry easty

Roy Foster: Joyce in Trieste, 30 November 2000

The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-20 
by John McCourt.
Lilliput, 306 pp., £25, June 2000, 1 901866 45 9
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... and the cosmopolitanism of a great seaport. Previous literary exiles had included Stendhal, Charles Lever and Richard Burton. In addition, Trieste had its own literary world: Futurism flourished there, Marinetti visited frequently and contributed to local papers, and Joyce’s pupil and friend Ettore Schmitz would later – encouraged by his teacher ...

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