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David Morley

30 November 2017
...  ...
12 February 2009
... We are waiting for a Christmas that never came, each species a friend of a friend of some needle-hue. All the years, heights and postures are present like children in a school that no child ever leaves. Each species a friend of a friend of some needle-hue: those adolescent spruces prickle with boredom like children in a school that no child ever leaves. The infant firs sing to themselves in the snow ...
11 June 2009
... i. Port Meadow, Oxford, 1983 Walking to Woodstock Road from Wytham where leaf-worlds welled from all the wood’s wands, we talked salmon, midges, flood meadows, the energy system cindering softly under us, slow-cooking the marshlands. ‘The gate ought to be here. The map said so. That map back at my flat . . . Look, there’s a spot somewhere this way where sheep shove through. See those fieldfares ...
13 May 2010
... Songs of PapuszaI was once besotted with a black-eyed boy. The young menof my kumpania stretched him out in an àshariba. Only thendid Dion´yzy Wajs, ancient Dion´yzy Wajs, pay his coin and court.He possessed harps, bought my mother and stepfather’s heart.All I possessed were secret books. Dion´yzy arranged my bedas we both wished. There will be no children, he had said.This is what I swan-sung ...

Two Poems

David Morley

23 February 2006
... Bears Pawpaw and Paprika, two great bears of the Egyptians of Lancashire, Chohawniskey Tem, the Witches’ County, who, when our camp plucked its tents and pulled out its maps, walked steadily with the wagons, ambling, always ambling, all across the open pages of wet England, footing as far as Pappin-eskey Tem, the flat Duck County; crossing to Curo-mengreskey Gav, the Boxers’ Town; padded on to ...

Three Poems

David Morley

2 December 2010
... Zhivàkos the Horseman This circle of grass needs to be sited just right – superlevel, softhard, southnorth. Horses are picky. Shires, Shetlands, they’ve attitude just like you and me. Making circus isn’t about our own people’s pleasures, not when there are beasts. Beasts come first and last. On a one to ten the horses are eleven, twelve. We’ve a camel too, scatty skutsome creature, who thinks ...

Two Poems

David Morley

10 August 2016
... Lesson Three Dad was not dad. Dad was the mad train screaming daily into the station of his home, white-hot brakes shrieking, exploding across the platforms of the rooms. So regular, so on time, you could set your watch. Five hours. Four. Three. Two. The skies were my watch. I saw the evening redden, and I hid. Hiding to nowhere. A phrase I still hate. Dad’s train shivered and splintered ...


Kazuo Ishiguro

1 August 1985
Pictures from the Water Trade: An Englishman in Japan 
by John David Morley.
Deutsch, 259 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 233 97703 1
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... remain non-human, their values and ways will remain safely irrelevant. No wonder the British are so fond of the ‘inscrutability’ of Japanese faces. I fear, then, for this splendid book by John DavidMorley, based on his three-year stay in Japan during the mid-Seventies, which adopts the approach of assuming the Japanese to be human beings, and rather ordinary ones at that. Pictures from the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flashman

9 May 2002
... reactionary old git, an object lesson in the way bad boys corrode into boring old men. A book about which Fraser might have mixed feelings is The Gift: New Writing for the NHS, an anthology edited by DavidMorley (Stride, £7.95). The shortest contribution is ‘the underfunder’s utopia’ by Tom Leonard, an asthmatic poet: ‘the state hospital/ with one bed/always full/always efficient’. David ...

The Monster Plot

Thomas Powers: James Angleton, Spymaster

10 May 2018
The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton 
by Jefferson Morley.
Scribe, 336 pp., £20, December 2017, 978 1 911344 73 5
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... The CIA and the Craft of Counterintelligence (2008). But Angleton laid out on the page is nothing like Angleton in the room. When he wanted someone to understand the Monster Plot – someone like David Blee, for example, who took over as chief of the Soviet Bloc Division in the CIA’s clandestine wing in 1971 – Angleton would schedule time for ‘the briefing’. He didn’t tell Blee what it ...

Yearning for Polar Seas

James Hamilton-Paterson: North

1 September 2005
The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule 
by Joanna Kavenna.
Viking, 334 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 0 670 91395 2
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The Idea of North 
by Peter Davidson.
Reaktion, 271 pp., £16.95, January 2005, 1 86189 230 6
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... Canada and Britain (his one gigantic omission is Russia). The nearer he gets to the North of England and Scotland the more deeply felt his writing becomes. His examination of Northern poets such as DavidMorley, Simon Armitage and Sean O’Brien is marvellously sensitive to their regionalism and to the bitter undertow of history and class politics in some of their work. I have a grouse about both ...

Meaningless Legs

Frank Kermode: John Gielgud

21 June 2001
Gielgud: A Theatrical Life 1904-2000 
by Jonathan Croall.
Methuen, 579 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 413 74560 0
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John G.: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud 
by Sheridan Morley.
Hodder, 510 pp., £20, May 2001, 0 340 36803 9
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John Gielgud: An Actor’s Life 
by Gyles Brandreth.
Sutton, 196 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 7509 2752 6
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... These biographies of John Gielgud by Jonathan Croall and Sheridan Morley are quite hard to tell apart. They are of much the same size, bear handsome pictures of the actor in old age on the front of their dust-jackets, and are, inevitably, affectionate and indulgent ...

‘His eyes were literally on fire’

David​ Trotter: Fu Manchu

5 March 2015
The Yellow Peril: Dr Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinaphobia 
by Christopher Frayling.
Thames and Hudson, 360 pp., £24.95, October 2014, 978 0 500 25207 9
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... trick or two left up its silken sleeves. If so, the thought must count, like the recent anxieties about a cyber Pearl Harbor, as techno-Orientalist. Techno-Orientalism is a term invented by DavidMorley and Kevin Robins to describe the ‘Japan panic’ of the late 1980s. By that time, the Japanese economy, driven by non-stop technological innovation, had become the second largest in the world after ...
17 February 1983
Sir William Rowan Hamilton 
by Thomas Hankins.
Johns Hopkins, 474 pp., £19.50, July 1981, 0 8018 2203 3
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Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
by Jack Morrell and Arnold Thackray.
Oxford, 592 pp., £30, August 1981, 0 19 858163 7
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The Parliament of Science: The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981 
edited by Roy MacLeod and Peter Collins.
Science Reviews, 308 pp., £12.25, September 1982, 0 905927 66 4
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... thematically, the authors tease out the various sinews which they weave into a coherent interpretation of a historical phenomenon. The occasional cause of the foundation of the BAAS was a letter from David Brewster, in Edinburgh, to Charles Babbage, in London, suggesting this new initiative in their campaign to halt the ‘decline of science’ in Britain. The efficient cause of success was the ...


James Wood

5 August 1993
TheNew Poetry 
edited by Michael Hulse, David​ Kennedy and David Morley.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £25, May 1993, 1 85224 244 2
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Who Whispered Near Me 
by Killarney Clary.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1993, 1 85224 149 7
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Sunset Grill 
by Anne Rouse.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, March 1993, 1 85224 219 1
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Half Moon Bay 
by Paul Mills.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, February 1993, 9781857540000
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by Harry Smart.
Faber, 74 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16793 4
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The Autonomous Region 
by Kathleen Jamie.
Bloodaxe, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1993, 9781852241735
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Collected Poems 
by F.T. Prince.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £25, March 1993, 1 85754 030 1
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Stirring Stuff 
by Selwyn Pritchard.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 145 pp., £8.99, April 1993, 9781856193085
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News from the Brighton Front 
by Nicki Jackowska.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 86 pp., £7.99, April 1993, 1 85619 306 3
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Translations from the Natural World 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 67 pp., £6.95, March 1993, 1 85754 005 0
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... Poetry anthologies are now expected to make holy war; but what to do with The New Poetry, which strives so earnestly to turn its trumpet-majors into angels? The 55 poets collected here are, it seems, seraphs of a benevolent novelty, somehow singing their good news at once uniquely and in shimmering unison. ‘A multicultural society,’ write the editors in their introduction, ‘challenges the very ...

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