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Vanishings

Seamus Deane, 30 December 1982

Selected Poems 
by John Montague.
Oxford, 189 pp., £5.95, May 1982, 0 19 211950 8
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Ghosts at my Back 
by Tom Rawling.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1982, 0 19 211951 6
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A Late Harvest 
by John Ward.
Peterloo, 48 pp., £3, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... John Montague’s Selected Poems reinforce the impression left by his individual volumes: that of a great talent growing increasingly apprehensive at the conditions in which it must be exercised. Since 1958, when his first volume Forms of Exile appeared, he has been renowned for a certain elegance and formality of phrasing, and for a nervous delicacy of rhythm: these bestowing upon his poems an air of fragility which has to survive the often desperate occasions which initiate them ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... school’, with its connotations of deprivation and resilience, crops up in the work of Heaney and Montague, recharged. And when Patrick Kavanagh writes about carting dung to an outlying farm, he remembers a casual labourer and Gaelic poet of the 1750s or thereabouts, who, with his mind inappropriately engaged by literary matters, forgot to empty a cart-load ...
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... Ireland Renaissance’ is ‘largely a journalistic entity’. Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Deane, Michael Longley and their colleagues are from the North, and they are poets: but they are individual poets, not a school. They are not even two rival schools, though some of them have started fabricating a ...

Voices

Seamus Deane, 21 April 1983

The Pleasures of Gaelic Poetry 
edited by Sean Mac Reamoinn.
Allen Lane, 272 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 7139 1284 7
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... for the reader of Aogan O Rathaille, the greatest of modern Gaelic poets, a contemporary of Swift. John Jordan’s eloquent and penetrating essay on O Rathaille is one of the best things in the book. Sympathetic to both the Irish and the English literature of that period, Jordan is able to give us a sense of the intimacy and the distance between them ...

What the doctor said

Edna Longley, 22 March 1990

A New Path to the Waterfall 
by Raymond Carver.
Collins Harvill, 158 pp., £11, September 1989, 0 00 271043 9
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Wolfwatching 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 55 pp., £8.99, September 1989, 0 571 14167 6
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Poems 1954-1987 
by Peter Redgrove.
Penguin, 228 pp., £5.99, August 1989, 0 14 058641 5
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The First Earthquake 
by Peter Redgrove.
Secker, 76 pp., £7.50, August 1989, 0 436 41006 0
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Mount Eagle 
by John Montague.
Bloodaxe, 75 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 1 85224 090 3
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The Wreck of the Archangel 
by George Mackay Brown.
Murray, 116 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 7195 4750 4
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The Perfect Man 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Abacus, 96 pp., £3.99, November 1989, 0 349 10122 1
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... artless: they unite poetry and epistemology more deeply and functionally than does, for instance, John Ashbery. When Carver in ‘Summer Fog’ imagines grieving for his wife, instead of vice versa, he instals poetry as the agent of knowing. ‘The Painter and the Fish’, a rich and witty version of Carver’s aesthetic, associates art with the need and lust ...

Ireland at Swim

Denis Donoghue, 21 April 1983

The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, 1977-1981 
edited by M.P. Hederman and R. Kearney, with a preface by Seamus Heaney.
Blackwater Press/Colin Smythe, 930 pp., £25, October 1982, 9780905471136
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A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers 
by Hugh Kenner.
Knopf, 352 pp., $16.95, April 1983, 0 394 42225 2
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... in 1968. Several of their colleagues are from the North: the poets Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, John Montague, Michael Longley. Deane, especially, has been important to them, arguing about Irish literature and the question of tradition, the North, the two languages, the available rhetorics. I have been reading The Crane Bag in association with Hugh ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Paul Krugman, 19 July 2012

... a Tory ideologue. That day Krugman also went on the BBC’s Hardtalk to take questions from Sarah Montague. A strange theatre ensues whenever Krugman is engaged by a journalist rather than a peer with similar expertise or a politician with actual if undeserved authority. The journalist reminds him of the people who’ve dismissed his ideas and he just shakes ...

Valorising Valentine Brown

Patricia Craig, 5 September 1985

Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 to 1939 
by W.J. McCormack.
Oxford, 423 pp., £27.50, June 1985, 0 19 812806 1
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Across a Roaring Hill 
edited by Gerald Dawe and Edna Longley.
Blackstaff, 258 pp., £10.95, July 1985, 0 85640 334 2
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Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 
by Seamus Deane.
Faber, 199 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13500 5
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Escape from the Anthill 
by Hubert Butler.
Lilliput, 342 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 946640 00 9
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... to ‘a monkey house at feeding time’. It was in the same year, 1951, Deane tells us, that John Montague, also writing in The Bell, called for an end to the apathy which seemed the predominant feeling about cultural matters, and at the same time ‘demanded of his generation that it reflect Catholicism as a living force in Irish life’. His ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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Translations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... that is far in advance of political reality. Thus the translations of Frank O’Connor, John Montague and Thomas Kinsella point towards a national identity which is as yet not fully ratified by law and international treaty. This strong and enduring autochthonous tradition of translation is complemented by a more recent interest in translating ...

Hasped and Hooped and Hirpling

Terry Eagleton: Beowulf, 11 November 1999

Beowulf 
translated by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 104 pp., £14.99, October 1999, 9780571201136
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... Saxon, are momentarily collapsed, in what Heaney, borrowing a phrase from his poetic compatriot John Montague, describes as an escape from the ‘partitioned intellect’ into some larger-spirited, unsectarian country of the mind. It seems a pity to sour this eirenic liberal pluralism. But the ‘partitioned intellect’ in Ireland is not in fact one ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Sedan Stories, 8 August 2002

... do you carry the King in a common Cedan, as they carry such as have the Plague?”’ John Evelyn, too, had a low opinion of the contraption, ‘it being held a conveyance for voluptuous persons and women of pleasure to their leu’d Rendivozes incognito’. The Covent Garden Morning Frolick (1747), an engraving by Louis Boitard that’s ...

Entrepreneurship

Tom Paulin: Ted Hughes and the Hare, 29 November 2007

Letters of Ted Hughes 
edited by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 756 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 571 22138 7
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... is a bit of an old sod.’He is more critical of Donald Davie, saying in a sympathetic letter to John Montague apropos of a bad review that Davie is a ‘grotesquely shrunken silly imitator of Pound’, the receptacle of every other critic’s ‘dud cartridges & empty cases’, ‘the mincy mean know-all kind of little office snot’. His poetry is ...

Crusoe was a gentleman

John Sutherland, 1 July 1982

The Gentleman in Trollope: Individuality and Moral Conduct 
by Shirley Letwin.
Macmillan, 303 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 333 31209 0
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The Idea of the Gentleman in the Victorian Novel 
by Robin Gilmour.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £10, October 1981, 0 04 800005 1
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... number of the 47 novels to print. A new and complete edition of the letters (edited by N. John Hall) is about to take over from Bradford Booth’s handy but imperfect single volume. A new and definitive biography (by Hall again) is in hand. And there has been an astonishing number of monographs and hardbacked collections of essays on Trollope in the ...

Around Here

Alice Spawls: Drifting into the picture, 4 February 2016

... really there and not the painting. The row of buildings – now mostly hotels – that runs down Montague Street to the east of the museum is unchanged, the railings are the same, down to their gold tips, and though in the painting there’s no tree where a large plane tree ought to be, the scene looks just as it does now, in the thinnest light of the ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman: Power v. Power, 8 April 2015

... from one to the other, prompted by what he takes to be egregious violations of common sense. John Humphrys on the Today programme can be almost as angry but is more jocular, usually sounding as though he is just one more idiocy away from an uncontrollable guffaw. The interrogators are not all men – Emily Maitlis and Kirsty Wark on Newsnight, and Sarah ...

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