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Mid-History of the Motor-Car

Glyn Maxwell, 12 March 1992

... Doors on them now, the automobiles, the black Grandiose, or red, gold-lined Elegances: flashing along through London, Oxford, the blossoms and lanes. They stop at the wayside pubs and enthusiasts Boast, munch, wipe, compare. This is the lunchtime that takes forever, Our dads somewhere there. Then oils and alloys come, so do Enforced windows and speeds, old names Now for the humming and wordless lounges Or cores of aeroplanes; Displays will be lit and talk ...


Glyn Maxwell, 2 February 1989

... Father will be pompous but a good soul, Mother will have her pan and grey hair and get him out of scrapes. No he wasn’t touching up that girl, IT WAS REALLY a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t good at cooking but he did try hard. It will last half-an-hour on empty nights. For the rest, two white heads on parapets. Mother will have her pan. A son and daughter will know what we know, more than Father knows: he’s touching her again! Here comes Mother with crippled hands and her vague wishing look ...

Got me

Glyn Maxwell, 25 October 1990

... Far be it from me to mention things that really happen but I did go to this fish farm once and did discover this: that despite the long cold pools of fish outdoors and the bubbling tanks indoors, and the rocks they sell (one pound fifty for a real rock), and the age-sloughing smell of green spawnwater and the wavering ferns, and well, the fishes themselves – not every mother’s son is there to make a start on a fishworld ...

The People’s Cinema

Glyn Maxwell, 12 January 1995

... As blank as scripture to a ruling class Discussed in hells they do not think exist, Cracked and abandoned to the slicing grass       And disabusing dust, A movie screen shows nothing in a morning mist. Here’s where the happy endings were never had, Or, like the long and lonely, never shown. No one rode to the rescue of who was good,       No star was born, none shone, No dream came true, or fun began, or life went on ...

Two Poems

Glyn Maxwell, 17 July 1997

... England Germany The boys were risen right out of their seats By the wind the whistle cued, they pushed along In the damp and heavy-coated crowd away From all of it, away from this one song The man beside them knew. Rough cigarettes He’d prodded at them while he had his say About the action. Now where was he gone, They wondered. Not so far: he’d only paused A sec to cup a hand to his white face As the flame he got kept blowing out ...

Trapped in Miss America’s Boudoir

Glyn Maxwell, 27 April 2000

... Susan Faludi’s book ‘Stiffed’ is about ‘The Betrayal of the Modern Man’.* What follows is an interview with the ‘Modern Man’. Can you share any childhood memories with us? Well ... one night I was lying in bed, pretending to be asleep, waiting for my father to come in. He’d promised that he’d reveal to me a miraculous inheritance. What was that like? I remember feeling wrapped in an unexpected and delicious comfort, as well as being enveloped in his hushed exuberance ...

Miracle in a Ring-Binder

Glyn Maxwell: Aleksandar Hemon, 23 October 2008

The Lazarus Project 
by Aleksandar Hemon.
Picador, 294 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 330 45841 2
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... Vladimir Brik, the hero of Aleksandar Hemon’s third book, The Lazarus Project, had an elderly uncle called Mikhal back in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who liked to be shown family photograph albums and to get his young nephew to point out who everyone was: ‘And here is Aunt Olga, smiling … And that’s you … And there is me.’ ‘Nobody ever found it strange’ that Uncle Mikhal was stone-blind ...

Can’t it be me?

Glyn Maxwell: Amit Chaudhuri’s new novel, 9 April 2009

The Immortals 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Picador, 407 pp., £16.99, March 2009, 978 0 330 45580 0
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... There’s nothing like a book about music to remind the reader of the silence. Nothing else insists so emphatically on what we are usually happy to forget: that, during the hours we read, our lives have gone quite still, and we are taking a stranger’s word for the world. A landscape, a face, a building, a painting, even a taste, an odour, an emotion: we will readily accept words for these, because we feel able to usher words into the space we’ve cleared for them ...

Love in the Ruins

Nicolas Tredell, 8 October 1992

Out of the Rain 
by Glyn Maxwell.
Bloodaxe, 112 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 1 85224 193 4
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Body Politic 
by Tony Flynn.
Bloodaxe, 60 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 129 2
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by Linda France.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 178 0
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Red-Haired Android 
by Jeremy Reed.
Grafton, 280 pp., £7.99, July 1992, 9780586091845
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by Peter Robinson, with an essay by Peter Swaab.
Robert Jones, 36 pp., £9.95, July 1992, 0 9514240 2 5
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... and by 1922, The Waste Land was to find by the Thames the signs of an imperium in full decadence. Glyn Maxwell, in 1992, offers his own vision of riparian decay: Just say you went beside the fires by the river, in neither night nor day, insofar as violet and lime were the shades of the air that steamed or anchored over the slurping water, and this was ...

All the Cultural Bases

Ian Sansom, 20 March 1997

Moon Country: Further Reports from Iceland 
by Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell.
Faber, 160 pp., £7.99, November 1996, 0 571 17539 2
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... numerous readings and spillages, while remaining in excellent condition. Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell visited Iceland in 1994, to retrace the steps of Auden and MacNeice. They made a recording of the trip for a five-part BBC radio series, Second Draft from Sagaland, first broadcast on Radio 3 in 1995, and Faber have now published Moon ...


Tim Dee: Derek Walcott’s Birthday Party, 22 May 2014

... lecture on Walcott’s work by Caryl Phillips, the launch of an edition of his poetry selected by Glyn Maxwell, a former student, and a screening of a new Dutch documentary about him.* The film was shown in the presence of the governor-general, who wore a St Lucian blue twinset. Alongside her was a quintet of elderly musicians performing dusty ...
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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... In a recent radio programme, Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell, two of the most prominent of the New Generation poets, retraced the journey undertaken by Auden and MacNeice in Letters From Iceland – a sign of the renewed interest which younger poets are showing in the poetry of the Thirties. Although Yeats and Eliot were publishing some of their greatest poems during the Thirties, it was Auden who created the style which most of his contemporaries sought to imitate, and it is Auden, more than Yeats or Eliot, who is influencing younger poets today ...

Dome Laureate

Dennis O’Driscoll: Simon Armitage, 27 April 2000

Killing Time 
by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 52 pp., £6.99, December 1999, 0 571 20360 4
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Short and Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems 
edited by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 112 pp., £4.99, October 1999, 9780571200016
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... witnesses battlefields from a distance. The beginning of the section seems to take a hint from Glyn Maxwell’s poem, ‘The Sarajevo Zoo’: ‘Some aviary in the Balkans/suffered damage from a nearby blast;/eagles, buzzards, vultures and falcons/all flew the nest.’ Eventually, he focuses on a lyrebird – noted for its habit of mimicking ...

Eternal Feminine

Ian Gregson, 7 January 1993

by Mark Ford.
Chatto, 51 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3750 9
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The English Earthquake 
by Eva Salzman.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, May 1992, 1 85224 177 2
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Bleeding Heart Yard 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 871471 28 1
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The Game: Tennis Poems 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 48 pp., £6, June 1992, 1 871471 27 3
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Marconi’s Cottage 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Bloodaxe, 110 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 85224 197 7
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... a key method in this context, and in their use of it Ford’s poems have affinities with those of Glyn Maxwell and Simon Armitage. The habit all three poets have of paraphrasing rather than quoting the speech of their characters tends to upset stable perspectives by mingling the voices of author and character and so raising the question of whose point of ...

Did she go willingly?

Marina Warner: Helen of Troy, 7 October 2010

Helen of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood 
by Laurie Maguire.
Wiley-Blackwell, 280 pp., £55, April 2009, 978 1 4051 2634 2
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... to be given unequivocal agency and a strong political voice’. This book went to press before Glyn Maxwell wrote Blind Eye Crying, another very free translation, which splices together Euripides’ plays Hecuba and The Trojan Women. In the Greek original, while Troy is being sacked Menelaus looks for Helen, intending to kill her. Hecuba and others ...

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