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Imagining the Suburbs

Stan Smith, 9 January 1992

Common Knowledge 
by John Burnside.
Secker, 62 pp., £6, April 1991, 0 436 20037 6
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The Son of the Duke of Nowhere 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 57 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 571 16140 5
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Bridge Passages 
by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 63 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282821 5
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Time Zones 
by Fleur Adcock.
Oxford, 54 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282831 2
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Selected Poems 
by Fleur Adcock.
Oxford, 125 pp., £6.99, March 1991, 0 19 558100 8
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Spilt Milk 
by Sarah Maguire.
Secker, 50 pp., £6, April 1991, 0 436 27095 1
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The Sirocco Room 
by Jamie McKendrick.
Oxford, 56 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282820 7
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by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 80 pp., £5.99, April 1991, 0 7011 3758 4
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... has seen a terminal date added to its brackets. An impressive new talent appears in Gerard Woodward’s Householder. Born in North London, as English as the Stanley Spencer on his cover, Woodward sets up house in the suburbs of poetry, aggressively flourishing his title-deeds. Yet an opening sequence ...
A Word from the Loki 
by Maurice Riordan.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 571 17364 0
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After the Deafening 
by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 64 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 7011 6271 6
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The Ice-Pilot Speaks 
by Pauline Stainer.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, October 1994, 1 85224 298 1
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The Angel of History 
by Carolyn Forché.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, November 1994, 1 85224 307 4
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The Neighbour 
by Michael Collier.
Chicago, 74 pp., £15.95, January 1995, 0 226 11358 2
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by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, March 1995, 0 19 282451 1
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... answer. He shifted the handset to his chest, letting it ring and ring. The blurb on the back of Gerard Woodward’s second collection, After the Deafening, suggests that we see him as a poetic Kurt Vonnegut who is writing ‘the science fiction of everyday life’. This analogy is not too far-fetched. The poem ‘Your Shell-Likes’ actually mirrors ...

Short Cuts

James Francken: The big book prizes, 3 January 2002

... you’re not)’ – is very similar to the pill that is resisted by the teenage protagonist in Gerard Woodward’s August (Chatto, £12.99): ‘he’s finding it hard to accept he’s not as special as he thought he was.’ Janus Jones’s father had paid for years of piano lessons so that his son could become ‘someone who made a living by ...

O Wyoming Whipporwill

Claire Harman: George Barker, 3 October 2002

The Chameleon Poet: A Life of George Barker 
by Robert Fraser.
Cape, 573 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 224 06242 5
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... Yeats was delighted with Barker’s ‘lovely subtle mind and a rhythmic invention comparable to Gerard Hopkins’. What could possibly go wrong for this golden boy? The fact that Barker fell completely from public esteem long before his death in 1991 begs the question whether he was any good in the first place. It is one of the few questions not addressed ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... tragedy, from the Oklahoma City bombings to the O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and Louise Woodward cases. Mourners and survivors say they need it, readers and audiences claim they desire it, yet the files remain open. ‘Closure’ is not news. The mechanism of cultural Schadenfreude ensures the endless recycling of the story, with variations that ...

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