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Ondine

Alan Jenkins

19 June 2003
... M’introduire dans ton histoire C’est en héros effarouché . . . (Mallarmé) Her river was the swift-flowing Rhone; mine, all that improbable year, the Hérault (‘M’introduire, I said, ‘m’introduire dans ton histoire c’est en Hérault . . .’) The two come near but do not flow into each other, any more than the mighty Seine and the Loire. I walked with her by the mighty Seine and the ...

Cousins

Alan Jenkins

4 October 2001
... A Sunday at home, since I still called them that, the house, the garden and the patch of lawn in front long gone to weeds and waist-high grasses that I crawled round, hacking wildly with the shears he’d once wielded, thick with rust now, blunt and useless, while she poked at flowerbeds or sat marooned in a deckchair and wiped her glasses that had misted with her hot flush, or with tears . . . Then ...

Cut-Ups

Robert Crawford

7 December 1989
Perduta Gente 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, £5, June 1989, 0 436 40999 2
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Letting in the rumour 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £4.95, July 1989, 9780856357572
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Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 58 pp., £4.99, July 1989, 1 85381 076 2
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Studying Grosz on the Bus 
by John Lucas.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 02 8
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The Old Noise of Truth 
by Joan Downar.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 03 6
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... and reinforced. Those partial to the conspiracy theory of the sinking island of English letters may take comfort from the fact that the selection of poems in Essential Reading (1986) is edited by AlanJenkins of the TLS. And that book contains a few examples of what are (in part at least) knowing winks: after describing a catalogue of sufferings in C, Reading concludes that ‘this, rendered in ...

Travellers

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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... achievement: humane and therapeutic, nurturing fresh shoots. Beside much that is now written about sexual violence, they are a miracle of balance. An example of what can go wrong is provided by AlanJenkins. His ‘Politics’, no doubt written with the best intentions, has turned out addled, corrupt. One thing, apparently, leads to another, seduction to sadism, improper hints in the office to this: It ...

Self-Positioning

Stefan Collini: The Movement

25 June 2009
The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... and, in parts, Davie’s, seem more interesting than its now stereotyped reputation allows. The contributors fall into three main groups: the poet-critics (Blake Morrison, Craig Raine, James Fenton, AlanJenkins, Clive Wilmer), the academics (Nicholas Jenkins, Terry Castle, Colin McGinn, Deborah Cameron, Deborah Bowman, William Pritchard, Eric Homberger, Michael O’Neill, Rachel Buxton) and the ...

Tales of Hofmann

Blake Morrison

20 November 1986
Acrimony 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 79 pp., £8.95, October 1986, 0 571 14527 2
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Idols 
by Stephen Romer.
Oxford, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1986, 0 19 281984 4
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Opia 
by Alan​ Moore.
Anvil, 83 pp., £4.50, August 1986, 9780856461613
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New Chatto Poets 
edited by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 79 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 7011 3080 6
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A.D. Hope: Selected Poems 
edited by Ruth Morse.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £3.95, April 1986, 0 85635 640 9
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The Electrification of the Soviet Union 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 69 pp., £8.95, August 1986, 0 571 14539 6
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... the Heaney-Harrison-Raine generation’s is a poetry of roots, his generation’s is a poetry of rootlessness. One can see this from the first books of Stephen Romer (born like Hofmann in 1957) and Alan Moore (born 1960), and from the two outstanding contributors to New Chatto Poets, Adam Thorpe (born 1956) and AlanJenkins (born 1955). One might call these four poets ‘sophisticated’, though ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991

25 January 1996
... surreality. Agent Cooper losing grip and my attention. Off to bed. Wednesday 9: Collapse of Geneva Peace talks. James Baker and Bush are determined to teach Saddam Hussein ‘a terrible lesson’. AlanJenkins of TLS rang up at 7.15 p.m. to suggest I write article on two exhibitions in London next month: Man Ray photos at Barbican, Max Ernst at Tate. Thursday 10: Ron Stocker to lunch. Listened to ...
7 May 1987
Selected Poems 1964-1983 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 262 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 14619 8
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Terry Street 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, November 1986, 0 571 09713 8
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Selected Poems 1968-1983 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 109 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 571 14603 1
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Essential Reading 
by Peter Reading and Alan Jenkins.
Secker, 230 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 436 40988 7
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Stet 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 40 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 436 40989 5
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... editors at Secker (not to mention the printer) must feel unnerved – which is excellent. This is poetry at its most unpredictable: we wouldn’t be surprised to find a pop-up V-sign over the page. AlanJenkins has made a good job of selecting from Reading’s ten previous volumes for this Essential Reading, and supplies a helpful Note for new readers. In these packed 230 pages (no wide open spaces ...
12 October 1989
A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan​ Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... Scottish Lowlands ten days before polling in 1983. In the previous week, as the Alliance campaign seemed to falter, sources close to Steel canvassed support for the idea that he should supplant Roy Jenkins as Alliance leader. Most of us said that this was out of the question in the middle of a campaign, even if it could be justified on merit. We were shocked when Steel raised and pressed the matter in ...

Iron Tearing Soil

James Francken: Golf

4 October 2001
A Gentleman's Game 
by Tom Coyne.
Atlantic, 264 pp., £15, July 2001, 1 903809 05 3
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Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap JenkinsTales from the Caddie Yard 
by Bo Links.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £15, May 2001, 0 684 87362 1
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Spikes 
by Michael Griffith.
Arcade, 258 pp., £17, February 2001, 1 55970 536 1
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... players try to buy distance, and golf shops sell longer clubs with graphite shafts and large titanium faces which come with a promise to add a few yards off the tee. Some golfers go further still. Alan Shepard, overlooked for the original Moonshot, commanded Apollo 14 and became the first golfer to play in outer space. After three hours on the Moon, Shepard had collected all the samples of rock and ...

D&O

John Lanchester

5 June 1997
Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... English writers have been interested, and has some rarity value as a subject). Some of the most memorable characters in A Dance to the Music of Time are the miners and bankers with whom Nicholas Jenkins, the narrator, serves during the war, or the literary down-and-outs with whom he mingles after it; a large part of the value of the work is that it encompasses Lady Huntercombe’s dance, as well as ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s

18 July 2013
Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... for the new volume is drawn from Bevan, and is as good as the ‘poetry’ heard by someone in his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan responded to a sneer about the laziness of his colleague Roy Jenkins: ‘How can a boy from Abersychan who acquired an accent like that be lazy?’ From Princess Margaret comes a comment on the moribundity of the London Season: ‘Every tart in London can get in ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding

3 January 2019
Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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...  who had been winning amateur talent shows around Macon – was tapped to fill in for a while. By the summer of 1958, he had dropped out of school, teamed up with a local guitarist named Johnny Jenkins, and joined a group called Pat T. Cake and His Mighty Panthers. Soul music was coming into its own. Ray Charles was recording for Atlantic Records; Sam Cooke had left the Soul Stirrers; James Brown ...

Diary

Paul Muldoon: Hiberno-English Shenanigans

1 July 1999
... 10 March. At 6:45 a.m. I set off by car service to Newark airport to catch the 10 a.m. Virgin/Continental flight to Gatwick. At this time of the morning the New Jersey Turnpike is too busy altogether. This use of altogether, I’m reminded by Terence Patrick Dolan in A Dictionary of Hiberno-English, means ‘wholly, completely’ and may be compared to the Irish phrase ar fad, particularly in its positioning ...

Crabby, Prickly, Bitter, Harsh

Michael Wood: Tolstoy’s Malice

22 May 2008
War and Peace 
by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Vintage, 1273 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 09 951223 3
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... Music, a pamphlet in the Cahiers Series published by Sylph Editions in conjunction with the Center for Writers and Translators in Paris (other volumes in the series are pieces by Lydia Davis and AlanJenkins and a forthcoming work by Paul Muldoon). One of Pevear’s test cases is a sentence in which Tolstoy repeats a phrase with apparent (or indeed perhaps real) carelessness: ‘Nine days after ...

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