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Bath Death

James Michie

6 December 1990
... Five foot eleven, twelve stone, sixty-three, I lie in the bath and look at the apple-tree And the apples dawdling into rubicundity To blend with the old brick wall’s well-weathered red. Already, and all ready, I feel dead: The tub, no longer a limp invalid’s warm bed, Is a dank coffin, my flesh wrinkled fruit For the birds, who pretend to be irresolute But eviscerate like pterodactyls. Absolute ...

Frosty Poem

James Michie

7 August 1980
... In New York City I wasn’t told That mid-May nights in Vermont can be cold. Outside, our brook, short of sun And wind, barely keeps up a run, Just jogs and limps so as not to freeze; Flexing her black tender knees, The mare between the moon and the gate Crops fiercely as if she couldn’t wait For the calories to turn to heating, And is blindly warming herself by eating; Overhead, chipmunks shiver ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Self-Exposure at the Football Terrace

2 September 1982
... as Chelsea miss a goal from half a yard out against West Ham ... Stamford Bridge, 1961’. For the record, it should be said that there is one grim face in the bunch, that of the poet and publisher JamesMichie – clearly not a seasoned Chelsea fan ...

Seeing double

Patrick Hughes

7 May 1987
The Arcimboldo Effect 
by Pontus Hulten.
Thames and Hudson, 402 pp., £32, May 1987, 0 500 27471 1
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... or backwards. Upside-downs read differently depending on which way up they are. Hammond and Hughes call this a metathesis: ‘A raven is like a writing desk because it bodes ill for owed bills’ (JamesMichie). Barthes goes on to say: ‘Everything is always the same,’ says the true palindrome; whether you take things in one direction or the other, the truth remains. ‘Everything can assume an ...

One for the road

Ian Hamilton

21 March 1991
Memoirs 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 346 pp., £16.99, March 1991, 0 09 174533 0
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... Amis early on, and both Enoch Powell and Roald Dahl might have been rendered more benignly if, when given the chance, they had evinced a surer grasp of Kingsley’s stature. When Andrew Sinclair and JamesMichie are sniped at for being mean, for not picking up the tab, we get the feeling that Amis’s ire comes mainly from his not having been treated with sufficient deference. Surely it wasn’t just ...

Allowed to speak

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

19 November 1992
Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture 
by Helena Michie.
Oxford, 216 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 507387 8
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Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic 
by Elisabeth Bronfen.
Manchester, 460 pp., £45, October 1992, 0 7190 3827 8
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... culture. The central insight of her magisterial work – ‘He is the Subject, he is the Absolute ... she is the Other’ – has become part of the common wisdom in a variety of disciplines. Helena Michie’s Sororophobia and Elisabeth Bronfen’s Over Her Dead Body complicate that insight in different ways, but these books are scarcely imaginable without The Second Sex and its far-ranging analysis of ...

Making sense

Denis Donoghue

4 October 1984
A Wave 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £4.95, August 1984, 9780856355479
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Secret Narratives 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 46 pp., £6, March 1983, 0 907540 29 5
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Liberty Tree 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 78 pp., £4, June 1983, 0 05 711302 5
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111 Poems 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 85635 457 0
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New and Selected Poems 
by James Michie.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2723 6
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By the Fisheries 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 79 pp., £4, March 1984, 0 224 02154 0
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Voyages 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2736 8
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... perceived, As the flute is perceived, at origin, Before creation. The aim is to ripen to a style, as other poets Middleton reveres – Seferis, Trakl, Yeats, Rilke – have ripened, with patience. JamesMichie’s New and Selected Poems includes Possible Laughter (1959) and a batch of 25 more recent poems, mostly lyrical and meditative work on all sorts of occasions: poems about not being able to ...

Cityscrape

Kathleen Burk

9 July 1992
The Barlow Clowes Affair 
by Lawrence Lever.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £17.50, February 1992, 0 333 51377 0
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For whom the bell tolls: The Lesson of Lloyd’s of London 
by Jonathan Mantle.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 358 pp., £18, June 1992, 1 85619 152 4
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The City of London: Continuity and Change, 1850-1990 
by Ranald Michie.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £30, January 1992, 0 333 55025 0
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... a geographical area, and ‘the City’ referred to all of the activities that went on there, whether fishmongering or finance. It was the Second World War and its aftermath, according to Ranald Michie, which drove a furrow between the geographical and the functional Cities, as traditional City activities migrated further afield, driven thence by bombs or high rents. Nowadays ‘the City’ in ...
5 February 1981
... a second contract for a play entitled Blind Date, and, encouraged by his willingness to take a chance on me, I set to work. When Hanson left Birmingham, Tara Prem inherited the project. She and Pedr James, the script editor, made numerous suggestions for improvement and the play’s final shape owes a lot to them. My intention was to take a television cliché – a kind of family reunion, a dinner ...

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