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His Own Prophet

Michael Hofmann: Read Robert Lowell!, 11 September 2003

Collected Poems 
by Robert Lowell, edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter.
Faber, 1186 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 571 16340 8
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... served the beginning of his sentence for conscientious objection in 1943, over the West River (as James Schuyler thought it should be called) to New Jersey (and the Maxwell House factory): ‘Chemical air/sweeps in from New Jersey,/and smells of coffee.’ One would almost not know of its provenance or personal significance, the evidence is pushed back ...

Jobs and Sprees and Sorrows

William Fiennes, 16 April 1998

Joe Gould's Secret 
by Joseph Mitchell.
Cape, 200 pp., £9.99, October 1997, 0 224 05107 5
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... yellow-haired blonde’ who presides over the ticket cage at a Bowery cinema, and the Rev. Mr James Jefferson Davis Hall, ‘the greatest and most frightening street preacher in the city’. There is the founder of Captain Charley’s Private Museum for Intelligent People, where the exhibits include Theodore Roosevelt’s pith helmet and a parasol said to ...

Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... nor the nickname is mentioned by Sir John in his autobiography.) We are regaled with details of James Pope-Hennessy’s fatal passion for rough trade. I was taken aback when, later in the book, Lord Weidenfeld is rebuked for recounting events at which he wasn’t present. When John Richardson was present one often has to wonder why or how he got where he ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... public-school master Mountgrace-church MacDiarmid’s taste in literature: Selected John Ashbery, Schuyler, O’Hara, Gravity’s Rainbow, and End as a Man, Young Torless, Cavafy and others bizarrer, Lord Weary, Das Schloss, Lady Windermere’s Fan ... The nymphomaniac pensioners in ‘The Sexy Old Ladies of Havergo Hall’ are less discriminating in their ...

The Wrong Blond

Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985

Auden in Love 
by Dorothy Farnan.
Faber, 264 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 571 13399 1
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... gave a reading at the Keynote Club in Manhattan. Kallman and another Brooklyn student, Walter James Miller, were in the audience, with Kallman sitting in the front row giving the two international pederasts the glad eye. Afterwards he and Miller went backstage. Miller was tall, blond, Anglo-Saxon and (a friend who was not a ...

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