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Two Poems

Alistair Elliot, 22 July 1993

... Mother Somewhere among the roots of England my mother found her rules. Some shy Shakespearean aunt taught her to eat from fairy circles and how to name a tracehorse: Forrest or Homer – coins from the wordhoard of our tribe buried in the angelic angles around home: in Long Chase, the Top, the Forty-Acre, the Pikel. School spread on this the alphabet and the best lines of Scott, and a cousin from Australia showed a way to peel an orange (about the time of Gallipoli) with a knife, in seconds – a startling modern skill in a medieval girl – but she never learned to hold reason so that it would not squirm ...

Two Poems

Alistair Elliot, 21 March 1991

... Ganning back to the Beginning for Martin and Diana I HWAET! This is what we   wanted to hear: The floating one swings   still among rocks, hovering on hemp,   the embracing boat fast at anchor.   The coastguard on horseback guides them to Heorot   the shining hall – the loom of it lightens   the heart of sailors. They bend to sit   on a bench, a bank, the modelled metal   in plates and rings works on their bodies,   distinctive creaking ...

Three Poems

Alistair Elliot, 11 July 1991

... Seeing things Late afternoon on the prairie. We were looking for birds. My old friend Michael was amazed at what we said we saw: such far-off dots, how could we pick them out? still less remark, ‘eastern and western kingbirds.’ We all three wore specs. ‘You must have great peripheral vision,’ he finally pronounced – as if we scanned the field like radar with a sensitive edge, as if we spotted things by accident, out of the corner of a thoughtless eye ...

Two Poems

Alistair Elliot, 26 May 1994

... Premonition Things are turning up today. First, the tomato knife – God how we missed it! – After six months away In some underworld life Is back – I hope, for more than a visit. Then, my best travel trousers, Immobilised by zip failures, Have got over their shame – I searched for them in three houses, A boat, and their manufacturer’s – They appeared on their rail, at home ...

Facing South

Alistair Elliot, 23 June 1994

... for Tony Harrison Happiness, therefore, must be some form of theoria. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X.8 Theoria: ... a looking at, viewing, beholding ... ‘to go abroad to see the world’ (Herodotus) ... 2. of the mind, contemplation, speculation, philosophic reasoning ... theory ... II. the being a spectator at the theatre or the games ...

Two Poems

Alistair Elliot, 3 August 1995

... A Family Wireless You switch it on, pour out a cup of tea, drink it, and finally sounds of outer space clearing its throat blow from the vizored face; pause; then the swelling voice of history refills our kitchen from the B.B.C. It’s full of static and authority. I daren’t re-tune it: set before the war on Home, it doesn’t know it’s Radio Four ...

Two Poems

Alistair Elliot, 19 January 1989

... Rooms My favourite lavatory was on Ischia. It was a small round tower on a flat roof, Covered with plaster, vines and happy bees. The humming might have been the sun, its rays Shuffled in by the winking of a leaf In the arrow-slit, or else mild snoring from a Calmly-digesting-upside-down lucertola. It was a shit-house nothing could improve. It was my first Mediterranean summer ...

Puck’s Dream

Mark Ford, 14 June 1990

Selected Poems 1990 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 176 pp., £6.95, March 1990, 0 19 282625 5
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Life by Other Means: Essays on D.J. Enright 
edited by Jacqueline Simms.
Oxford, 208 pp., £25, March 1990, 0 19 212989 9
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Vanishing Lung Syndrome 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by David Young and Dana Habova.
Faber, 68 pp., £10.99, April 1990, 0 571 14378 4
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The Dimension of the Present Moment, and Other Essays 
by Miroslav Holub, edited by David Young.
Faber, 146 pp., £4.99, April 1990, 0 571 14338 5
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Poems Before and After: Collected English Translations 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by Ewald Osers and George Theiner.
Bloodaxe, 272 pp., £16, April 1990, 1 85224 121 7
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My Country: Collected Poems 
by Alistair Elliot.
Carcanet, 175 pp., £18.95, November 1989, 0 85635 846 0
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1953: A Version of Racine’s ‘Andromaque’ 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 89 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14312 1
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Andromache 
by Jean Racine, translated by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14249 4
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... until he was 30, and might be considered something of a late starter. The even more dilatory Alistair Elliot didn’t publish his first book of poems, Contentions, until 1977, when he was 45. Elliot is best-known for his long sequence ‘On the Appian way’, which is a travelogue in rhyming couplets recording his ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... make an excellent Speaker.’  To my dismay, today’s roll-call of The Fallen includes Elliot Morley, who appears to have been charging for a mortgage that was long ago repaid. 15 May. This evening’s Sunderland Echo highlights the expenses of local MPs. The only figures mentioned are the London allowance totals for last year, which show me in a ...

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