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Peter Howarth: Don Paterson, 21 March 2013

Selected Poems 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 169 pp., £14.99, May 2012, 978 0 571 28178 7
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... A few years back, Don Paterson was warning everyone that contemporary British poetry was under threat. Not from the usual enemies, philistines in government or chain bookshops, but from two groups of poets: populists and elitists. According to his 2004 anthology, New British Poetry, populists are well-intentioned souls who bring poetry to factories, schools or prisons, ‘via some patronising mediation, some strategy intended to make it “easier”: a visit from a performance poet, or a themed workshop, or a poster campaign with the dumbest, shortest poem the committee can find, set in 50-point bold ...

Crapper

Thomas Lynch, 21 March 1996

... Death and the sun are not to be looked at in the face. Maxims, La Rochefoucauld Don Paterson and I were crossing the Wolfe Tone Bridge in Galway contemplating Thomas Crapper. This was at early o’clock in the morning on our way back from an awful curry at the only Indian restaurant open in Galway in the wee hours ...

Bard of Friendly Fire

Robert Crawford: The Radical Burns, 25 July 2002

Robert Burns: Poems 
edited by Don Paterson.
Faber, 96 pp., £4.99, February 2001, 0 571 20740 5
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The Canongate Burns: The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns 
edited by Andrew Noble and Patrick Scott Hogg.
Canongate, 1017 pp., £40, November 2001, 0 86241 994 8
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... bardship’. By this time bards were everywhere – in England too. Thomas Gray, a Cambridge don, wrote ‘The Bard’; William Collins, in London, hankered after the ‘Old Runic bards’ of the Highlands. More influentially, though, Edinburgh’s James Macpherson, after the smash-up of Culloden, produced his Fragments of Ancient Poetry, bearing the ...

Ever so comfy

James Wood, 24 March 1994

Collected Poems 1953-1993 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 241 00167 6
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Dante’s Drum-Kit 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 145 pp., £6.99, November 1993, 0 571 17055 2
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Old Men and Comets 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, November 1994, 0 19 283176 3
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Plato’s Ladder 
by Stephen Romer.
Oxford, 79 pp., £6.99, November 1992, 0 19 282986 6
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The Country at My Shoulder 
by Moniza Alvi.
Oxford, 56 pp., £6.99, September 1993, 0 19 283125 9
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British Subjects 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, July 1993, 1 85224 248 5
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Night Photograph 
by Lavinia Greenlaw.
Faber, 54 pp., £5.99, October 1993, 0 571 16894 9
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Nil Nil 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 53 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16808 6
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Out of Danger 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 103 pp., £7.50, December 1993, 0 14 058719 5
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... detail. Several of her best-known poems like ‘I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miro’, don’t really expand on the surprise of their conceits. Her most interesting work trades new experiences of Britain with sparkling reminders of life in Pakistan. This is a first book, and it is difficult to predict how she will develop. Too many of the poems ...

Speaking in Tongues

Robert Crawford, 8 February 1996

The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English 1380-1980 
edited and introduced by Roderick Watson.
Edinburgh, 752 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 7486 0607 6
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... anthology is so in tune? They’re missing entirely – no Kathleen Jamie or W.N. Herbert or Don Paterson. Liz Lochhead is the only poet under the age of 50 to be included. The youngest Gaelic poet here is nearly 70. The forked tongues of the newer Scottish poets have been brutally chopped. Watson is strongest in the area of the Makars and in the ...

How much?

Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... was: put your money where your mouth is. ‘Must restart civilisation: people who say they care, DON’t care unless they care to the extent of £5 in the spring and £5 in the autumn, ridiculous to say they do, if they won’t run to that, can’t expect a civilisation or grumble if they don’t.’ As for Eliot’s ...

Smirk Host Panegyric

Robert Potts: J.H. Prynne, 2 June 2016

Poems 
by J.H. Prynne.
Bloodaxe, 688 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 78037 154 2
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... to Larkin, and thus to any mainstream English poet of the past few decades. (It’s notable that Don Paterson, for example, spends a significant amount of energy positioning his own practice in relation to Prynne’s.) Acceptance, however unlikely it once seemed, has therefore arrived. (I’d like to think that a moment in 2013, when Prynne could be ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter, 6 October 2011

The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... a chronologically arranged selection of Porter’s poems deftly edited by Sean O’Brien and Don Paterson, deals with his Scottish Australian ancestry, and with despair-haunted, hard-drinking, church-building men who have ‘no life but the marking-time of work’. Probably with Porter’s father’s garden in mind, it ends with an image of ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... the world before it. Trailing in the long wake of The Waste Land, the Cantos, Williams’s Paterson and Bunting’s Briggflatts were Louis Zukofsky’s A, Charles Olson’s Maximus, Allen Ginsbert’s Howl, the substitution of ‘breath’ for metre and gossip for metaphor. Adrian Henri and Roger McGough, with their sedulous imitation of the faux-naif ...

A Piece of White Silk

Jacqueline Rose: Honour Killing, 5 November 2009

Murder in the Name of Honour 
by Rana Husseini.
Oneworld, 250 pp., £12.99, May 2009, 978 1 85168 524 0
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In Honour of Fadime: Murder and Shame 
by Unni Wikan, translated by Anna Paterson.
Chicago, 305 pp., £12.50, June 2008, 978 0 226 89686 1
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Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed 
by Ayse Onal.
Saqi, 256 pp., £12.99, May 2008, 978 0 86356 617 2
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... delivered into.’ ‘I did not have the freedom to give you that freedom,’ Kaukab replies, ‘don’t you see?’ Fadime Sahindal’s mother, Elif, testified in court on behalf of her husband (for Wikan, Elif’s betrayal of her daughter is one of the hardest things to penetrate). We could contrast this with the case of Tulay Goren, in the news this ...

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