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Men at forty

Derek Mahon

21 August 1980
Selected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 137 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 85646 058 3
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Exactions 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 80 pp., £2.95, April 1980, 0 85635 332 9
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... The first poem by Donald Justice I ever read was the much anthologised sestina, ‘Here in Katmandu’: We have climbed the mountain, There’s nothing more to do ... It seemed to me then, and seems to me now, a beautiful and mysterious object, resonant and yet resistant to paraphrase. It might be said that it is a poem of regret for the death of idealism, a poem about coming to terms with quotidian reality, and, therefore, in some sense about ‘the way we live now ...

Erasures

Mark Ford: Donald Justice

16 November 2006
Collected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 289 pp., £15, June 2006, 0 85646 386 8
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... Donald Justice, who died in August 2004 at the age of 78, was one of the most subtle and enchanting American poets of his generation. In ‘Variations on a text by Vallejo’, a poem anticipating his own demise, but written some three decades before it, he pictured gravediggers burying him in Miami (his home town): And one of them put his blade into the earth To lift a few clods of dirt, the black marl of Miami, And scattered the dirt, and spat, Turning away abruptly, out of respect ...

Four Poems

Donald Davie

21 March 1985
... with, were we not happy to have them down on our grubbing level? And on that level, ours, Poetic Justice I swear made her appearance in a toga. Alzheimer’s, yes – the diagnosis was all very well, but surely George’s dealings with language had for years anticipated, almost provoked, the visitation? Such pains as he had been at – in verse, in prose, in ...

The Ultimate Justice Show

Michael Byers: The trial of Saddam

8 January 2004
... is a torturer, a murderer, and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.’ With those words, spoken during a television interview on 16 December, the President of the United States tried, convicted and sentenced the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Ostensibly, a ...

The State with the Prettiest Name

Michael Hofmann: ‘Florida’

24 May 2018
Florida 
by Lauren Groff.
Heinemann, 275 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78515 188 0
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... of the time, before pharaohs and pyramids, when everything was still to come’: the Miami-born Donald Justice found the passage in Henry James for me at the beginning of my time here. ‘Saigon, 1969,’ my friend Larry Joseph said, when I sat him in Leonardo’s coffee bar a block away from campus. ‘Fucking Yucatan,’ I called it, not dismissively ...
15 October 1981
Hume and the Problem of Causation 
by Tom Beauchamp and Alexander Rosenberg.
Oxford, 327 pp., £15, August 1981, 0 19 520236 8
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The Science of Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith 
by Knud Haakonssen.
Cambridge, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 0 521 23891 9
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... flyleaf of Messrs Beauchamp and Rosenberg’s book about Hume’s theory of causation, Professor Donald Davidson says of it: ‘This is certainly the best available discussion of Hume and causality. It is much more than that, however: it is the best book-length treatment of causality.’ Professor Davidson is perhaps a little biased by the fact that the ...

Hit by Donald Duck

Oliver Hill-Andrews: The Red Scientist

24 May 2018
Popularising Science: The Life and Work of J.B.S. Haldane 
by Krishna Dronamraju.
Oxford, 367 pp., £26.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 933392 9
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... science under socialism could provide an age of plenty. The challenge for the biographer is to do justice to this multifarious activity, which ultimately dissipated Haldane’s overall achievement. Krishna Dronamraju – another of Haldane’s students, whom he apparently treated ‘like a son’ – mostly ducks the challenge, giving us a disjointed ...

Tycooniest

Deborah Friedell: Trump and Son

21 October 2015
Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success 
by Michael D’Antonio.
Thomas Dunne, 389 pp., £18, September 2015, 978 1 250 04238 5
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... and conspicuous’. He’s undone when he’s asked to name the first two disciples. When Donald Trump said that the Bible was his favourite book, and then was asked by a reporter to name his favourite verse, he couldn’t lose because he refused to play: ‘I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk ...

On ‘Spoofing’

Donald MacKenzie: Spoofing

20 May 2015
... him to stand trial in Illinois after charges were issued against him by the US Department of Justice. The DoJ alleges he was in the habit of ‘spoofing’ futures markets, by entering orders without genuinely intending to buy or sell, and that this contributed to his trading profits of about $40 million between 2010 and 2014. He is said to have done all ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger: Ten (More) Days in America

25 October 2018
... He is referring to the FBI.*Pornography star Stormy Daniels provides a detailed description of Donald Trump’s penis. Although Trump had bragged about the size of his member in the primary debates and in campaign speeches, Daniels, based on her professional expertise, laughingly refutes this.*Hurricane Florence causes basins containing more than two ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family

16 February 2017
... The​ most enduring blight left behind by Donald Trump, long after he has smashed things up, will be the pile of books devoted to trying to make sense of him. It will grow after investigative journalists have spent years diving for hidden records, exploring subterranean corporations and foreign partners but never reaching the dark ocean bottom ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Mueller Time

18 April 2019
... tie Trump’s actions to either activity.The second main finding concerned obstruction of justice; but here Mueller suspended judgment. His report elected not to issue a traditional directive of the sort that constitutes either a move to prosecute or a decision not to prosecute. Again in his own words: ‘while this report does not conclude that the ...
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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... This festschrift’s title, Life by Other Means, derives from an Enright poem called ‘Poetical Justice’ which muses rather more ambiguously on the relations between art and life than the stirring phrase might suggest in isolation. Dr Johnson, one of Enright’s touchstones, records how he was so shocked by Cordelia’s death in King Lear that he could ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Springtime for Donald

20 February 2020
... Watching​ Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on 4 February, I felt that we had crossed a line. This president was setting up as the benevolent ruler of – it wasn’t clear what. Not a constitutional democracy. A different kind of country. He had brought along, as guests, individuals who were given honourable mentions in his speech, people who looked up in gratitude as he scattered his gifts ...

Better and Worse Worsts

Sadakat Kadri: American Trials

24 May 2007
The Trial in American Life 
by Robert Ferguson.
Chicago, 400 pp., £18.50, March 2007, 978 0 226 24325 2
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... he might be the prophet that he resembled. Executions had been the primary spectacle of criminal justice in the Western world for hundreds of years, but during the quarter century before 1859 more than a dozen northern states enacted laws to conceal their hangings behind prison walls. The courtroom drama was replacing the gallows ritual in the public ...

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