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The Person from Porlock

Jeremy Reed, 15 July 1982

... In the summer of the year 1792, the author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-house between Porlock and Linton ...’ Coleridge At first, there was no cause for suspicion, the gentleman rooted in solitude had taken possession of a small farm, and rarely showed. We’d seen him walk the lane, encumbered by a trunk, on arrival, a scholar, so we heard, and indisposed, given over to verse and reverie: attentive about his despatch of mail, perhaps distracted, but not sinister ...

Making up

Julian Symons, 15 August 1991

Lipstick, Sex and Poetry 
by Jeremy Reed.
Peter Owen, 119 pp., £14.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0817 1
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A poet could not but be gay 
by James Kirkup.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0823 6
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There was a young man from Cardiff 
by Dannie Abse.
Hutchinson, 211 pp., £12.99, April 1991, 0 09 174757 0
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String of Beginners 
by Michael Hamburger.
Skoob Books, 338 pp., £10.99, May 1991, 1 871438 66 7
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... The first page of Jeremy Reed’s ‘autobiographical exploration of sexuality’ finds him with ‘a red gash of lipstick’ on his mouth, pondering whether to take the ten steps down to a beach where men sunbathe nude. He is androgynous, 16, ‘looking for a new species’. James Kirkup also admits to androgyny and to a passion for make-up, from childhood when he experimented with his mother’s make-up box, through the time when, as head of the English Department at the Bath Academy of Art, he appeared in his own play for children wearing white tights and with gold sequins on his upper eyelids, right into middle age ...

Montale’s Eastbourne

Michael Hofmann, 23 May 1991

The Coastguard’s House 
by Eugenio Montale, translated by Jeremy Reed.
Bloodaxe, 223 pp., £7.95, December 1990, 1 85224 100 4
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... were writing their poems now and in America.’ It remains an attractive blueprint, and one that Jeremy Reed has followed in his own work on Montale: ‘What I have tried to achieve in this book is a series of poems in which the poet’s intentions are placed within a context of late 20th-century values.’ Certainly, disdain for the poor conventional ...

Here comes Amy

Christopher Reid, 17 April 1986

What the light was like 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 110 pp., £4, February 1986, 0 571 13814 4
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Facing Nature 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 110 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 233 97798 8
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Nero 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 128 pp., £4.95, November 1985, 0 224 02346 2
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V. 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, 36 pp., £8.95, December 1985, 0 906427 98 3
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Dramatic Verse: 1973-1985 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, 448 pp., £20, December 1985, 0 906427 81 9
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Sky Ray Lolly 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, April 1986, 0 7011 3046 6
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The Tower of Glass 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Mariscat, £3, September 1985, 0 946588 07 4
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Making cocoa for Kingsley Amis 
by Wendy Cope.
Faber, 65 pp., £7.95, March 1986, 0 571 13977 9
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... their occasional grandiloquence and antique turn of phrase, from the busy hurtling fortissimo that Jeremy Reed contrives to sustain through so many of the 63 poems in Nero. Measured by quantity and density, this book is, to say the least, impressive. The most satisfying pieces here are those that cast the poet in the role of naturalist, as keen-eyed and ...

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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Red 
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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Leaf-Viewing 
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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... But these are small lapses in a quietly accomplished collection. In Red-Haired Android, Jeremy Reed attacks ‘the poetry world’, which he sees as dominated by ‘exponents of the ordinary, /opponents of the visionary’: Their safety-net is Larkin’s provincial de-sexualised climacteric; the flat sensibility bred by a ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991, 25 January 1996

... before seven local time. Saturday 5: Invitation from Joe Allard of Essex University to read with Jeremy Reed at the Colchester Arts Festival. Went shopping at local supermarket after lunch. Dull TV. Made asparagus and prawn soufflé for supper. Tuesday 8: Watched first episode of new series Twin Peaks. Who cares who killed Laura Palmer? Monotonous ...

Two Jackals on a Leash

Jamie McKendrick: Eugenio Montale, 1 July 1999

Eugenio Montale: Collected Poems 1920-54 
translated by Jonathan Galassi.
Carcanet, 626 pp., £29, November 1998, 1 85754 425 0
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... many translators, Arrowsmith and Galassi are more faithful to the original; Robert Lowell and Jeremy Reed take greater licence. Galassi’s translations ‘sound’ better than Arrowsmith’s and have a more reliable sense of what Montale wrote than either Lowell’s or Reed’s. But only Lowell, in the ten ...

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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... to slip on and tumble   Down staircases, down years ... If there is a perennial Romanticism, Jeremy Reed’s poems maintain it. He puts himself, without apology, at the centre of his experience, and regards morality as his promise to pay attention. What he pays attention to, in By the Fisheries, is hailstones, buoys, fishing for mullet, surfers, his ...

Someone Else’s

Matthew Reynolds: Translating Cesare Pavese, 6 October 2005

Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
Carcanet, 370 pp., £14.95, April 2004, 1 85754 738 1
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems 
edited by Jamie McKendrick.
Faber, 167 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 571 19700 0
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... twinning the eel with the gleam in somebody’s eye. Of the many English versions (Robert Lowell, Jeremy Reed, Jonathan Galassi, Tom Paulin and so on), McKendrick rightly chooses Paul Muldoon’s. Inseparably inventive and close, his ‘Eel’ is like its namesake: it departs from its origin only as a way of returning to it. At one point, Muldoon sends ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: The Supreme Court’s Judgment, 2 March 2017

... in the hierarchy of domestic law sources.This looks pretty impregnable until you turn to Lord Reed’s dissenting judgment. Standing by the principle of parliamentary supremacy, Reed argues that what Parliament enacted in and after 1972is inherently conditional … on the UK’s membership of the EU. The Act imposes no ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’, 6 February 2014

... Herbert Huncke plus any given Beat, all of the New York School, Bob Dylan, Nico, John Cale, Lou Reed, Malcolm McLaren, Patti Smith and Mapplethorpe, William Eggleston, and … hang on, here’s Walker Evans. And there, not exactly flitting past, goes the bulky shadow of Henry James. Tippins has embarked on a compendious venture, as the index suggests. I ...

Pick the small ones

Marina Warner: Girls Are Rubbish, 17 February 2005

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from around the World 
by Mineke Schipper.
Yale, 422 pp., £35, April 2004, 0 300 10249 6
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... to work with the grain of tradition: ‘Better the devil you know,’ they mutter. ‘The reed that stands up to the wind breaks, the reed that bends survives,’ puts in Greer – a nugget from the world reserves of crone wisdom. Proverbs are ‘the instruction of thy father and … the law of thy mother’, the ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... Denton Welch was William Burroughs’s main intellectual squeeze. Ferlinghetti had high hopes for Jeremy Reed. The Beats were now heritage fodder, a potential Bloomsbury group. There was even talk of James Ivory optioning a Neal Cassady property. I wondered, thinking of Blake’s formative experiences there, whether Carolyn had caught any of Alan ...

He’s Bad, She’s Mad

Mary Hannity: HMP Holloway, 9 May 2019

Bad Girls: The Rebels and Renegades of Holloway Prison 
by Caitlin Davies.
John Murray, 373 pp., £10.99, February 2019, 978 1 4736 4776 3
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... Despite its external appearance, the interior of the old prison had been radial, on the lines of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, maximising surveillance and control. Now something not so explicitly disciplinarian was needed to suit the liberal discourse of women’s rehabilitation. ‘Most women and girls in custody require some form of medical, psychiatric ...

Interview with a Dead Man

Jeremy Harding: Witches of Impalahoek, 20 June 2013

Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa 
by Isak Niehaus.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £60, December 2012, 978 1 107 01628 6
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... to have a second crack at their father. The diviner went to Rebecca’s grave with a hollow green reed containing potions, which he drove into the soil: the wind, it was explained, would blow through the reed like breath through a flute and ‘call the witch to follow the deceased’. But Luckson survived this ingenuity as ...

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