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18 November 1993
... Like lengths of spaghetti or croquet hoops Pipelines stacked on the jetty. Around them, cranes in suspension Claw like dentists’ drills. Containers are less than their shadows Under sky the colour of putty, And heat, swooning to mirage, Nullifies effort. Only tankers move in the Gulf, Their wakes unzipping silence, Their crews mute signatories To a war at half-cock ...

G. Lineker

Alan Ross

6 December 1990
... A style suggested by a name, A way of comportment, of playing – In the merging of ‘line’ and ‘glint’ Necessary elusiveness, hint Of mother of pearl, ‘nacreous’, As in the opening, knife-edged, Of two halves of an oyster. In the music of Satie there is Similar opportunism, echoes And chances taken up, exploited – ‘Striker’ and ‘lion’, a ‘cur’ Hanging around on the off-chance ...
5 October 1995
... Peering through bougainvillea that sits On their heads like mob caps, Monkeys set up advance posts. Soon, hands to ears, as if telephoning, They establish links, At pre-arranged signals swarming In formation. Temples’ bronze domes Attract them. They pick up stones With their tails Hurling them like cricketers, Wizened businessmen On a company spree ...

U 244

Alan Ross

12 March 1992
... Anticipating our zigzag, as if somehow By information or low Cunning, she knew our speed And course, she contrived a need For company. She came at us From all angles, silently, without fuss, A whine on the asdic, homing in. We readied depth charges, prepared Our tin fish. She moved away, Out of the sea’s swing and sway, As if hurt, a rebuffed lover, Whose hide-and-seek was over ...

Two Poems

Alan Ross

23 February 1995
... Tyniec A Benedictine abbey, the S of a river Feathered by willows. The rural life Placed on a platter, barns, A church spire, cottages. A farmer drives his cattle Over water-meadows, geese on a playing-field like footballers In 4 – 2 – 4 formation. An atmosphere of grunt and mud, A liquid greenness. Mist rises; even now it’s not fanciful To imagine it, laced with cyanide, Leaking from Oswiecim ...

Three Poems

Alan Ross

28 November 1996
... sister ships With their sirens. Drivers exchange pleasantries, Stop for fags. On this nocturnal Cross-river route they are like pilots Nosing an estuary, at ease with themselves And each other, before dawn unmasks ...
19 February 1981
The Star-Apple Kingdom 
by Derek Walcott.
Cape, 58 pp., £2.50, March 1980, 0 224 01780 2
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Selected Poems 1961-1978 
by David Holbrook.
Anvil, 143 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 85646 066 4
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Death Valley and Other Poems in America 
by Alan Ross.
London Magazine Editions, 92 pp., £3, June 1980, 0 904388 32 8
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Poems 1955-1980 
by Roy Fisher.
Oxford, 193 pp., £7.95, November 1980, 0 19 211935 4
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A.R.T.H.U.R. & M.A.R.T.H.A. 
by Laurence Lerner.
Secker, 69 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 436 24440 3
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... if it is worth its salt, but a phrase men can pass from hand to mouth? From hand to mouth, across the centuries, the bread that lasts when systems have decayed, when, in his forest of barbed-wire branches, a prisoner circles, chewing the one phrase whose music will last longer than the leaves. A romantic view, Yeatsian perhaps, expressed with great ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton

28 September 1989
Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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...  ...

Sorry to go on like this

Ian Hamilton: Kingsley Amis

1 June 2000
The Letters of Kingsley Amis 
edited by Zachary Leader.
HarperCollins, 1208 pp., £24.99, May 2000, 0 00 257095 5
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... such things’? And then there were the one-per-letter put-downs of current literary rivals. Alan Ross, Amis notes in 1946, is being touted as a ‘promising young writer’, a designation for which, at this time, Amis yearned: A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A STEWPID LITTEL ...
2 March 1989
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... from that age almost unique example of continuity in distinction. Another fine poet and editor, Alan Ross, can look back on a long and successful custodianship of the London Magazine: but this second volume of autobiography – the first, Blindfold Games, began what should be a memorable series – again shows how much more colourful his life has been ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Sport Poetry

23 January 1986
... to go home.And so I did, and stayed there for three months. Until last week. I’d been reading Alan Ross’s excellent new autobiography Blindfold Games,* somewhat stirred by the book’s several heartfelt passages on sport-as-art: ‘The development of a style in prose and poetry and the perfecting of a stroke at cricket or rackets have much in ...
5 April 1984
Home and Dry: Memoirs III 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 165 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 904388 47 6
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... be that he was long ago misled by the name of a Scottish team: but can it be that his publisher, Alan Ross, suffers the same inveterate delusion? Perhaps this is one of those tiny harmless in-jokes of which the author is so fond, and which contribute so much to one’s entertainment. This last volume is mostly concerned with the Navy, a service in which ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann

7 January 1999
John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... and furiously defended the Liberal cause at the Punch table. John himself had been at Eton with Alan Pryce-Jones, Anthony Powell, Eric Blair and Cyril Connolly, who, we are told, stood at the door of his room in the Sixth Form Passage asking, ‘Well, Johnny Lehmann, how are you this afternoon?’ While he was at Trinity his sister Rosamond published her ...
18 July 1985
New and Collected Poems: 1934-84 
by Roy Fuller.
Secker in association with London Magazine Editions, 557 pp., £14.95, June 1985, 0 436 16790 5
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The Sea at the Door 
by Sylvia Kantaris.
Secker, 70 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 23070 4
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... stuck to his old literary guns as to his rather ingenuous politics, as he boasts or confesses to Alan Ross, who is one of the dedicatees: We disagree in much, I know: I’m over-fond of Uncle Joe; You find in Auden not an era – Simply a poet who grows queerer; The working class for you’s a fact, No statue in the final act. And really not much ...

Seriously ugly

Gabriele Annan

11 January 1990
Weep no more 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 166 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12200 7
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... is no photograph of her third husband, the millionaire Derek Jackson, but he did not seriously engross her. She bit him twice, really hard the second time, so he shuffled off into his sixth marriage, leaving her with a farmhouse near St Tropez and financial security for herself, her mother and her aunt. New readers might like a summary of Skelton’s first ...

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