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Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes

18 February 1999
Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... Aldington’s book includes an appendix listing the errors of earlier biographers – among them, Norman Douglas and Edith Sitwell. The University of Southern Illinois holds the Aldington archive and FredCrawford’s Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia is an archive-driven crawl over a hitherto neglected patch of literary history. It is heavy with quotation from all the relevant acrimonious ...

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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... these new books must negotiate between producing a consensual ‘modern poetry reader’ and creating something more than a stepping-stone between us and several dozen Collected Poems. Armitage and Crawford entitle their introduction ‘The Democratic Voice’, binding the last fifty years of poetry into its wider social and cultural contexts – education acts, decolonisation, immigration – while ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford

20 April 1989
Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred​ D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... from their white hands Like so many messy table napkins. In some ways, Dabydeen stands in the position of McIlvanney or the Dunn of Barbarians: certainly some of the writers anthologised by Fred D’Aguiar as representatives of ‘Black British Poetry’ make interesting links with other analogous predicaments. D’Aguiar himself takes as the epigraph to his introduction Stephen Dedalus’s ...

Quarrelling

Mary-Kay Wilmers

29 October 1987
Tears before Bedtime 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12326 7
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In the Pink 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Bloomsbury, 164 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7475 0050 9
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... lunch. She doesn’t say much about school, except, characteristically, that there was one from which she was expelled after a bundle of love letters was found in her desk. It turned out that the ‘Fred’ who had signed them was merely a name she had given herself. (In later life she must have had innumerable love letters from one Fred or another: it would be interesting to know what, if anything ...

Enthusiasts

Anita Brookner

3 February 1983
Where I Used to Play on the Green 
by Glyn Hughes.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 575 02997 8
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Virginie 
by John Hawkes.
Chatto, 212 pp., £8.50, January 1983, 0 7011 3908 0
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Ancient Enemies 
by Elizabeth North.
Cape, 230 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 224 02052 8
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Dancing Girls 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 224 01835 3
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Master of the Game 
by Sidney Sheldon.
Collins, 495 pp., £8.95, January 1983, 0 00 222614 6
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... a tiresome Vietnamese student who attempts to ingratiate himself with an unattractive Canadian girl and thereby adds momentarily to her sexual status, the breakdown of the marriage between popular Fred and cute Betty, the extremely convincing collapse into madness of Louise, and the effect that this has on her reluctant friend Morrison, a small nightmare about a woman poet who is about to give a ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington

30 November 2006
State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... told her FBI bodyguard that her husband, now head of Creep, had bugged every Democrat in Washington and that she was going to call the press. Then she rang her husband, but got through to his deputy, Fred LaRue, one of the men who handled the famous slush fund that had paid for the Watergate burglary a few weeks earlier. This Martha tale appears in the published White House diary of Nixon’s chief of ...

Cut, Kill, Dig, Drill

Jonathan Raban: Sarah Palin’s Cunning

9 October 2008
... as outsiders. Reagan the Hollywood actor, Perot the data-processing billionaire, Buchanan the DC journalist, and George W. Bush the energy-industry scion and owner of a merely recreational ranch in Crawford, Texas, have had very little in common with their rural and exurban constituents, and their gestures at farmyard, strip-mall or cowboy-boot cred have tended to come across as phoney and embarrassing ...

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