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Sweeno’s Beano

Nigel Wheale: MacSweeney, Kinsella and Harrison

1 October 1998
The Book of Demons 
by Barry MacSweeney.
Bloodaxe, 109 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85224 414 3
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Poems 1980-94 
by John Kinsella.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £9.95, April 1999, 1 85224 453 4
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The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 108 pp., £7.95, January 1997, 1 900072 12 2
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The Kangaroo Farm 
by Martin Harrison.
Paper Bark, 79 pp., £8.95, May 1998, 0 9586482 4 7
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... A tear caught in a mussel shell turns to pearl, the Ancients believed. Barry MacSweeney’s The Book of Demons begins among the living with ‘Pearl’, a 22-poem sequence evoking a childhood love between the poet-persona and his sweetheart, the daughter of a poverty-stricken smallholding family from the ‘rain-soaked’ ‘raw-bone’ laws – the high moors around Allen-heads in Northumberland ...

On Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth: Nicholas Moore

23 September 2015
... work at every day, all day, and then lose in the tottering piles or under the kitchen sink. Though Barry MacSweeney, John Ashbery and others drew attention to his public neglect, Moore would ensure his continued non-success by sending in reams of doggerel to editors, in which might be concealed a few bits of perfectly struck poetry, like the ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth

19 August 2004
Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... greyer than the version flourished in early snapshots – the cover of A Serial Biography, the Barry Flanagan etching from Act – but this is still the same mouth, the same disguise. The same bite. The lights are on and there is somebody at home. The speed of eye/ear/mind remains, absolutely, that of a particle accelerator. Heart is everything: the ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding

3 July 1997
Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... Torrance, Lee Harwood, Andrew Crozier, Peter Riley, J.H. Prynne, Michael Haslam, Douglas Oliver, Barry MacSweeney, Denise Riley – they must nonetheless wonder, from time to time, whether theirs is a case of having missed the boat which would only have been worth catching if they’d been on it in the first place. Perhaps that is why Sinclair gives the ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... or ‘The Coldness’ deserve to be in anybody’s anthology. Without Silkin, but also without Barry MacSweeney or Douglas Oliver – whose Penniless Politics and The Infant and The Pearl are uniquely ambitious meditations on the character of democracy – we feel that somewhere along the line we have been short-changed. Anthony Conran’s marvellous ...

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