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A Martian School of two or more

James Fenton, 6 December 1979

A Martian sends a postcard home 
by Craig Raine.
Oxford, 46 pp., £2.95
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by Christopher Reid.
Oxford, 50 pp., £2.75
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by Hugo Williams.
Whizzard Press/Deutsch, 40 pp., £2.95
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A Faust Book 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.25, September 1979, 0 19 211895 1
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by Yehuda Amichai.
Oxford, 88 pp., £3.50
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... to Toulouse-Lautrec. So far as poetry is concerned, I guess that one influence would be the Wallace Stevens of ‘Sunday Morning’: the book certainly has a Sunday morning feeling to it, like a late breakfast consumed at leisure. Here are bright colours and bold designs, as if a lesson has been learned (as indeed the Post-Impressionists did ...

Roaming the stations of the world

Patrick McGuinness: Seamus Heaney, 3 January 2002

Electric Light 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.99, March 2001, 0 571 20762 6
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Seamus Heaney in Conversation with Karl Miller 
Between the Lines, 112 pp., £9.50, July 2001, 0 9532841 7 4Show More
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... very shipshapeness’ – setting out to sea. Among its contents we hearVoices too of Frost and Wallace StevensOff a Caedmon double album, off different shelves.Dylan at full volume, the Bushmills killed.‘Do Not Go Gentle’. ‘Don’t be going yet.’Heavy as the gate I hung on onceAs it swung its arc through air round to the hedge-back,The bookcase ...


David Haglund: Mormons, 22 May 2003

... imagine an alternative view of the world. Booth asked me if I had read ‘Sunday Morning’ by Wallace Stevens. I hadn’t, but went straight to my room and found it in a cheap anthology bought not long before in a thrift store. ‘There is not any haunt of prophecy,’ Stevens writes, ‘nor cloudy palm/Remote on ...

Back to Their Desks

Benjamin Moser: Nescio, 23 May 2013

Amsterdam Stories 
by Nescio, translated by Damion Searls.
NYRB, 161 pp., £7.99, May 2012, 978 1 59017 492 0
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... firm has a status something like that of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company that employed Wallace Stevens. Like Stevens, who remained at the company for 39 years and eventually rose to become its vice-president, Nescio was not a mere clerk: in 1926, he became co-director, and remained a director until ...
Selected Poems 
by James Merrill.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £9.95, April 1996, 1 85754 228 2
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... not in the beguiling fashion of the far better known John Ashbery, who combines the exaltation of Wallace Stevens with the shrugging insouciance of Frank O’Hara in order to come up with poems as expressive and as inscrutable as Reverdy’s. If Merrill was experimental, then it was in the way Bach played with harmonics and textual interpretation in a ...


John Redmond, 28 November 1996

Expanded Universes 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 55 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 9780571179244
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... to contend with mountainous piggybacks on their humps ... Early on, Reid described his reading of Wallace Stevens as ‘a marvellous secret find’ and he shares with the American a worldliness that comes out of a book – the poems comprising a sort of introvert’s gazetteer. Many begin with the kind of verbless descriptive clause ‘Cigar-box ...

Plague Fiction

Charles Nicholl, 23 July 1987

The Darker Proof 
by Adam Mars-Jones and Edmund White.
Faber, 250 pp., £3.95, July 1987, 0 571 15068 3
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... of adolescent sexuality, A Boy’s Own Story. There are a couple of references here to the poet Wallace Stevens, and White has something of Stevens’s mix of lyric simplicity and philosophical shimmer. The landscape of his stories is cosmopolitan – Paris, Venice, Vienna, Greece: the topography of the exiled ...

On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis, 5 December 2019

... that sense of completeness of utterance and identity that must have come with the first books of Wallace Stevens (Harmonium) and Elizabeth Bishop (North and South).’ The book they were talking about was Douglas Crase’s The Revisionist. Out of print for almost forty years, it has now been reissued (Carcanet, £12.99) in a volume that also includes ...

O Harashbery!

C.K. Stead, 23 April 1992

The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara 
edited by Donald Allen.
Carcanet, 233 pp., £18.95, October 1991, 0 85635 939 4
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Flow Chart 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £16.95, September 1991, 0 85635 947 5
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... of contemporary American poetry. It’s true he is somewhere down a track that leads off from Wallace Stevens: but Stevens can’t be held responsible for the distance Ashbery travels. O’Hara, who began where Ashbery began, showed that theirs was a point of departure which could lead into the thick of time and ...

Absent Authors

John Lanchester, 15 October 1987

Criticism in Society 
by Imre Salusinszky.
Methuen, 244 pp., £15, May 1987, 0 416 92270 8
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by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... were conducted in the year from April 1985; the interviewees were asked to discuss a poem (Wallace Stevens’s ‘Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself’) and were shown transcripts of the preceding interviews – devices intended to help ‘make this a book of interviews, rather than simply a set of interviews thrown together as a ...


Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... writer represented here: the Library has significant Modernist holdings (Joyce, Yeats, Wallace Stevens – none of whom Amis had much time for), as well as extensive collections of Stevenson and Jack London, the latter represented by 131,000 items. It has also purchased the archive of the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, Amis’s second ...


John Bayley, 17 September 1987

Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry 
edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Helen Deese.
Cambridge, 377 pp., £17.50, June 1987, 0 571 14979 0
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Collected Prose 
by Robert Lowell, edited and introduced by Robert Giroux.
Faber, 269 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 30872 0
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... and pin them down in a way that could not be done with real American poets – Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery. She even places Lowell inside a critical trope. ‘The New Critical doctrine that every poem is a little drama built around a central paradox is ... in the very fabric of their lives ... especially Lowell, whose life is the ...

Paraphrase me if you dare

Colin Burrow: Stanley Cavell’s Sadness, 9 June 2022

Here and There: Sites of Philosophy 
by Stanley Cavell, edited by Nancy Bauer, Alice Crary and Sandra Laugier.
Harvard, 326 pp., £23.95, May, 978 0 674 27048 0
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... of a philosophical project or even as an idea of personal identity, on Walter Benjamin, on Wallace Stevens, and on Faulkner. A couple of them originally appeared in the LRB, while others were twenty-minute talks for this or that event at which Cavell was appearing as a philosophical eminence, and in which he can sometimes seem as though he is ...


Julian Loose, 12 May 1994

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow 
by Peter Høeg, translated by F. David.
Harvill, 412 pp., £9.99, September 1993, 0 00 271334 9
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... descriptions are characteristic of Høeg’s half-Western, half-Inuit protagonist. To paraphrase Wallace Stevens, Smilla has a mind of winter: or, as it states in her Danish police report, ‘anybody needing to know anything about ice will benefit by consulting Smilla Jaspersen.’ In fact Smilla thinks more highly of snow and ice than of anything, even ...

Language Questions

Barbara Strang, 17 July 1980

The Language-Makers 
by Roy Harris.
Duckworth, 194 pp., £15, April 1980, 0 7156 1430 4
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Beyond the Letter: A Philosophical Inquiry Into Ambiguity, Vagueness and Metaphor in Language 
by Israel Scheffler.
Routledge, 146 pp., £8.50, November 1979, 0 7100 0315 3
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Linguistic Perspectives on Literature 
edited by Marvin Ching, Michael Haley and Ronald Lunsford.
Routledge, 332 pp., £9.50, March 1980, 9780710003829
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... deviation and cohesion in cummings has also been published in two other versions. Keyser on Wallace Stevens illustrates dangers Widdowson warns of. The final sub-section deals with ‘Style as Tension between Meaning and Form’, including Verma on topicalisation. Handler on understanding poetic speech acts (good sense here), and Heller on the ...

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