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Sizing up the Ultra-Right

David Butler, 2 July 1981

The National Front 
by Nigel Fielding.
Routledge, 252 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 7100 0559 8
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Left, Right: The March of Political Extremism in Britain 
by John Tomlinson.
Calder, 152 pp., £4.95, March 1981, 0 7145 3855 8
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... theorist. More information about the actual world of politics is available in a slighter book. John Tomlinson, a Labour MP who lost his seat in 1979, has collected a large ragbag of useful if undigested facts about the ultra-Right and ultra-Left movements in Britain and about their activities in recent years. Anyone seeking the genealogy of the rival ...

Other Poems and Other Poets

Donald Davie, 20 September 1984

Notes from New York, and Other Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 19 211959 1
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The Cargo 
by Neil Rennie.
TNR Productions, 27 pp., January 1984
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Collected Poems 1943-1983 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 383 pp., £14.95, April 1984, 0 85635 498 8
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... the last sentence) is what I try to hold in mind when I give my sense of Charles Tomlinson’s poetry. Those who have been aghast at the churlish reviews of Tomlinson’s Poetry and Metamorphosis – Charles Martindale, who protested at Tom Paulin’s review in the LRB, and Richard Swigg who many months ago ...

Received Accents

Peter Robinson, 20 February 1986

Collected Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 351 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 19 211974 5
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Selected and New Poems: 1939-84 
by J.C. Hall.
Secker, 87 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 436 19052 4
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Burning the knife: New and Selected Poems 
by Robin Magowan.
Scarecrow Press, 114 pp., £13.50, September 1985, 0 8108 1777 2
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Englishmen: A Poem 
by Christopher Hope.
Heinemann, 41 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 434 34661 6
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Selected Poems: 1954-1982 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 175 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 436 16754 9
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Writing Home 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 19 211970 2
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... Charles Tomlinson has a poem called ‘Class’ about the Midland pronunciation of the first letter of the alphabet. In the last chapter of Some Americans, the poet tells how for a short time he was Percy Lubbock’s secretary at a villa near Lerici. In ‘Class’, he says he tried to pronounce the ‘ah’ of received English, but couldn’t and, because ‘I too visibly shredded his fineness,’ was released from the post ...

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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... language is an enlightened and idealistic concept, and it informs the Clark Lectures which Charles Tomlinson delivered in Dryden’s old college, Trinity, Cambridge, in 1982. Tomlinson is an enthusiastic admirer of Dryden, whom he terms ‘the Poundian figure of his age’, and he also speaks inspiringly of the ‘unity of ...

Kelpers

Claude Rawson, 17 June 1982

St Kilda’s Parliament 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 87 pp., £3, September 1981, 0 571 11770 8
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Airborn/Hijos del Aire 
by Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson.
Anvil, 29 pp., £1.25, April 1981, 0 85646 072 9
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The Flood 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 19 211944 3
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Looking into the Deep End 
by David Sweetman.
Faber, 47 pp., £3, March 1981, 0 571 11730 9
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Independence 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 28 pp., £5, December 1981, 0 907540 05 8
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... or in the light of episodes concerning, Scottish writers, mostly of the 18th century: Tannahill, John Wilson of Greenock – and, in ‘Green Breeks’, a famous anecdote of Scott’s boyhood is subjected to an extremely deft and somewhat mean-spirited reversal. The volume as a whole gives a sense of substantial and sensitive gifts embarrassed by a strange ...

Consequences

Christopher Reid, 15 May 1980

Renga 
by Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti and Charles Tomlinson.
Penguin, 95 pp., £1.95, November 1979, 0 14 042268 4
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Kites in Spring 
by John Hewitt.
Blackstaff, 63 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85640 206 0
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The Island Normal 
by Brian Jones.
Carcanet, 91 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 9780856353406
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New Poetry 5 
edited by Peter Redgrove and Jon Silkin.
Hutchinson, 163 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 09 139570 4
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... in Paris more than ten years ago by Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti and Charles Tomlinson has recently been published here. This work, the result of five days’ collaboration in the basement of the Hôtel St Simon on the left Bank, has both oriental and occidental ancestry. The ceremonial meeting of poets to enact a ritual of elegance and ...

A Match for Macchu Picchu

Christopher Reid, 4 June 1981

Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu 
by John Felstiner.
Stanford, 284 pp., $18.50, December 1980, 0 8047 1079 1
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The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation 
edited by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 608 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 214103 1
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... John Felstiner’s Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu is an unusual, honest and enterprising book, but ultimately something of a disappointment. Its title suggests a book-lover’s pilgrimage, an intellectual adventure of the order of, say, The Quest for Corvo or The Road to Xanadu. A great deal of the pleasure it offers derives from the openness – rare in the academic field, where positions tend to be held with entrenched fervour – that the author permits in telling of his unique journey ...
A Word from the Loki 
by Maurice Riordan.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 571 17364 0
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After the Deafening 
by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 64 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 7011 6271 6
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The Ice-Pilot Speaks 
by Pauline Stainer.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, October 1994, 1 85224 298 1
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The Angel of History 
by Carolyn Forché.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, November 1994, 1 85224 307 4
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The Neighbour 
by Michael Collier.
Chicago, 74 pp., £15.95, January 1995, 0 226 11358 2
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Jubilation 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, March 1995, 0 19 282451 1
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... Those scissors sent by a friend in Hawaii. They were sharp, shiny, and would never rust. Charles Tomlinson’s Jubilation is a very old-fashioned poetry book. His sense of the line, his diction and his subject-matter at times are reminiscent of the Georgians and, indeed, there are a couple of references to Edward Thomas and Ivor Gurney. When he is not ...

Scots wha hae gone to England

Donald Davie, 9 July 1992

Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... then who is left to man the supposedly overbearing metropolis, unless it is Kingsley Amis and John Betjeman? The ramparts so frailly manned should have given way long ago to the armies massed against them. What Crawford doesn’t realise is that this indeed has happened; he is sounding the bugle for an assault on a fortress that surrendered years ago. The ...

On Octavio Paz and Marie-José Tramini

Homero Aridjis, translated by Chloe Aridjis, 21 November 2019

... Surrounded by poets – Giuseppe Ungaretti, Allen Ginsberg, Ingeborg Bachmann, Rafael Alberti, John Berryman, Charles Tomlinson, Stephen Spender – we felt en famille. Paz and I and our wives drove to Assisi to see Giotto’s frescos, wandered about the Chiostro dei Morti, and climbed to the Eremo delle Carceri, home ...

The company he keeps

C.H. Sisson, 6 August 1981

Experiences of an Optimist 
by John Redcliffe-Maud.
Hamish Hamilton, 199 pp., £10.95, July 1981, 0 241 10569 2
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... more than seventy years in this hard world, comes before it as an optimist? The handsome head of John Redcliffe-Maud, alias Sir John Maud, GCB, CBE and what else, alias Baron of the City and County of Bristol, looks from the dust-cover with a questioning half-smile. In his Bath robes? Not a bath-robe, anyway, though it ...

Clean Poetry

John Bayley, 18 August 1983

Collected Poems 1970-1983 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 172 pp., £5.95, May 1983, 0 85635 462 7
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... shires of Hardy and Betjeman – there was also the bright American world of the New Criticism, John Crowe Ransom, I.A. Richards, Allen Tate, and young up-and-coming members like Randall Jarrell, a world in which the academic and the poet were entering together a new world of feeling and technique, joining tradition and novelty. Bliss was it in that dawn ...

The Voice from the Hearth-Rug

Alan Ryan: The Cambridge Apostles, 28 October 1999

The Cambridge Apostles 1820-1914: Liberalism, Imagination and Friendship in British Intellectual and Professional Life 
by W.C. Lubenow.
Cambridge, 458 pp., £35, October 1998, 0 521 57213 4
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... The Apostles – the semi-secret society that George Tomlinson (a future Bishop of Gibraltar) and II of his friends at St John’s College, Cambridge founded in 1820 – occupies a distinctive niche in British social mythology. Or, rather, it occupies several niches, according to the taste of the mythologiser ...

Howard’s End

John Sutherland, 18 September 1986

Redback 
by Howard Jacobson.
Bantam, 314 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 593 01212 7
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Coming from behind 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 250 pp., £2.95, April 1984, 0 552 99063 9
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Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 351 pp., £2.95, October 1985, 0 552 99141 4
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... and Shaun Cooney, Ruddles Carmody, Lobelia Sneddon, Norelle Turpie, Vance Kelpie, Montserrat Tomlinson, Bev Belladonna, Hartley Quibell. In fact, for ease of reading (and who wants a hard-to-read comic novel?) there are altogether too many characters popping in and out of the narrative. Even Sefton Goldberg is drafted for a fleeting appearance, wearing ...

Oque?

John Bayley, 30 November 1995

Byrne 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... the novel Byrne has therefore had to be composed by the eponymous hero’s obituarist, one Tomlinson. (Shades of Kipling, just as the hero’s name interests us by being so close to that of Byron.) It must have been fun to do; it is also great fun to read. The writer on his last legs is the true hero, for manifesting such a soaring parting zest in his ...

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