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On Roy Fisher

August Kleinzahler

28 June 2017
... fell from the sky it was in Chicago, which felt a congenial thing to do. I changed my money, bought a coffee and took a flight to South Bend without leaving O’Hare.’ In South Bend he was met by JohnMatthias, poet, anthologist of the splendid and hugely influential 23 Modern British Poets (1971), published in Chicago, and professor at Notre Dame University. Shortly after Fisher arrived in South ...
1 May 1980
Five American Poets 
by John Matthias, introduced by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £3.25, November 1979, 0 85635 259 4
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The New Australian Poetry 
edited by John​ Tranter.
Makar Press, 330 pp., £6.50, November 1979
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Carpenters of Light 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 154 pp., £6.95, November 1979, 0 85635 305 1
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Mirabell: Books of Number 
by James Merrill.
Oxford, 182 pp., £3.25, June 1979, 0 19 211892 7
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The Book of the Body 
by Frank Bidart.
Faber, 44 pp., £4.50, October 1979, 0 374 11549 4
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Skull of Adam 
by Stanley Moss.
Anvil, 67 pp., £2.50, May 1979, 0 85646 041 9
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Poems 1928-1978 
by Stanley Kunitz.
Secker, 249 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 436 23932 9
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... But it produces also a sense of spaciousness and energy in and beyond the language of the poem. James McMichael has a fine delicate touch in brief evocative lyrics and can open out into longer forms. JohnMatthias at his best achieves a steady tone, a dense texture, a clear focus on complex material. And in some of Robert Pinsky’s poems (‘Sadness and Happiness’, for example) there is a momentum ...

Excellent Enigmas

Christopher Reid

24 January 1980
Lies and Secrets 
by John​ Fuller.
Secker, 70 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 436 16753 0
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by John Matthias.
Anvil, 125 pp., £3.25, October 1980, 0 85646 035 4
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Growing Up 
by Michael Horovitz.
Allison and Busby, 96 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 85031 232 9
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Report to the Working Party. Asylum. Otiose [preceded by] After 
by Anthony Barnett.
Nothing Doing, 121 pp., £4.80, August 1980, 0 901494 17 8
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... Doubts, prevarications, velleities, different kinds of inability to act: these are the overt themes of many of the poems in John Fuller’s inventive new volume. The title, Lies and Secrets, does not belong to any one poem, but is a warning that no statement found in the book should be relied on either for straightforwardness ...


Michael Wood

23 March 1995
The Stone Raft 
by José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
Harvill, 263 pp., £15.99, November 1994, 0 00 271321 7
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... life, but a recreation of it, and when the writer repeatedly, ironically speaks of ‘this gospel’, he means not the real and only one, some sort of competitor for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but our gospel, the one a sceptical but still God-haunted age might want to build for itself. If you wonder, as I did, what a long-time man of the Left like Saramago is doing with this stuff, the ...
13 April 2000
... when cells were taken from the cervix of a 31-year-old Baltimore woman, for tests. The woman died of cancer eight months later but in the meantime some of the cells found their way to the lab of John and Margaret Gey of Johns Hopkins University. They were trying to find a method of keeping human cells dividing in a culture outside the body and had turned to cancer cells for their ability to ...
11 February 1993
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John​ Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... The bewildering variety of interests and standards in Wagner scholarship (or what passes for it) is congenitally resistant to study.’ Thus John Deathridge, the leading Wagner scholar of the English-speaking world, at the beginning of his chapter on Wagner research in the Wagner Handbook. It so learned and au courant a scholar as Deathridge ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors

3 January 2002
... too. ‘Making good’ meant getting out, as you would have to do if you were going to be a film star, but which applied to literature too, the success of J.B. Priestley and, at a later date, John Braine evinced by their brisk departure from their Bradford birthplace. In this respect the Brontë Sisters (Mam had seen the films, though she’d not read the books) were thought to be tragic ...

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