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Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language

10 May 2012
Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... the Bronx on through the, uh, Bruckner Expressway are looking good right to the Triboro Bridge. For listeners to 1010 WINS, a New York City radio station, this is a traffic report. But for the poet KennethGoldsmith, such sentences are the makings of a book: Goldsmith – who calls his practice ‘uncreative writing’ – transcribed, or says he transcribed, a full day of reports, which he then ...

‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault

6 January 2011
Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... up a process to ensure that my policy was implemented. There are nearly 500 pages of this, reminiscent of the current po-mo poster boys, Tao Lin, with his anaesthetised declarative sentences, and KennethGoldsmith with his ‘uncreative writing’, such as a transcription of a year’s worth of daily radio weather reports. Foucault notes: ‘Today’s writing has freed itself from the theme of ...
23 May 1985
Secret Gardens 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Allen and Unwin, 235 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 04 809022 0
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Reading and Righting 
by Robert Leeson.
Collins, 256 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780001844131
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Pipers at the Gates of Dawn 
by Jonathan Cott.
Viking, 327 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80003 1
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... which supplies Humphrey Carpenter’s title, is an image of sufficient piquancy to enliven the rather run-of-the-mill story it’s attached to. Childhood itself is a golden age, if we’re to believe Kenneth Grahame, who used this nostalgic phrase for the title of his first children’s book, and an equally romantic one, Dream Days, for its sequel. Carpenter is not insensitive to the irritating ...
1 July 1982
The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigations 
by Julian Symons.
Orbis, 143 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 85613 362 0
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Critical Observations 
by Julian Symons.
Faber, 213 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 571 11688 4
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As I walked down New Grub Street: Memories of a Writing Life 
by Walter Allen.
Heinemann, 276 pp., £8.95, November 1981, 0 434 01829 5
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... in which she cribbed a great deal from – of all people – Dr Leavis himself. Then came the Second World War and a sudden upsurge in reputation, with Maurice Bowra, Stephen Spender, John Piper, Kenneth Clark, John Lehmann and others going hysterical about her: a kind of trendy Stringalong situation, we are invited to judge. Then by 1954 it is all over and the balloon deflated for good. Can my ...
5 February 2015
A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan 
by Laura Thompson.
Head of Zeus, 422 pp., £20, November 2014, 978 1 78185 536 2
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... class. Aspinall, who was arguably Lucan’s true nemesis, was the son of an army officer and made his money from the casinos he ran, at first illegally, with his mother. Of the other regulars, James Goldsmith made his own fortune in a succession of businesses, including the chain that became Mothercare; the Shand Kydds’ wealth came from wallpaper manufacture; and Ian Maxwell-Scott was employed as a ...

Hegel in Green Wellies

Stefan Collini: England

8 March 2001
England: An Elegy 
by Roger Scruton.
Chatto, 270 pp., £16.99, October 2000, 1 85619 251 2
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The Faber Book of Landscape Poetry 
edited by Kenneth​ Baker.
Faber, 426 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 20071 0
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... spirit’? And why should one think that this elusive quality will be found in its ‘landscape’ rather than, say, its waste-disposal system? The sentence in question comes from the introduction to Kenneth Baker’s anthology of ‘landscape poetry’; he does not pause to ponder its pitfalls. Indeed, there is much that Baker does not pause over, including the scope and title of his anthology. It is ...

Empty Cookie Jar

Donald MacKenzie: Ethnoaccountancy

22 May 2003
Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego and the Death of Enron 
by Robert Bryce.
PublicAffairs, 394 pp., £9.99, November 2002, 1 903985 54 4
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Enron: The Rise and Fall 
by Loren Fox.
Wiley, 384 pp., £18.50, October 2002, 0 471 23760 4
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... with deep roots in Houston’s local politics, and went beyond financial contributions: in 1986, Enron was involved in joint drilling with Bush’s company, Spectrum 7. Enron’s chairman, Kenneth Lay, seems to have developed a joshing intimacy with Bush. Loren Fox reproduces Bush’s 1997 birthday letter to Lay: ‘55 years old. Wow! That is really old. Thank goodness you have such a young ...

Excellence

Patrick Wright

21 May 1987
Creating excellence: Managing corporate culture, strategy and change in the New Age 
by Craig Hickman and Michael Silva.
Allen and Unwin, 305 pp., £12.50, April 1985, 0 04 658252 5
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Intrapreneuring: Why you don’t have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur 
by Gifford Pinchot.
Harper and Row, 368 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 06 015305 9
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The IBM Way: Insights into the World’s Most Successful Marketing Organisation 
by Buck Rodgers.
Harper and Row, 224 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 06 015522 1
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Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage 
by Richard Foster.
Macmillan, 316 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 333 43511 7
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Ford 
by Robert Lacey.
Heinemann, 778 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 434 40192 7
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Company of Adventurers: The Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company 
by Peter Newman.
Viking, 413 pp., £14.95, March 1986, 0 670 80379 0
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Augustine’s Laws 
by Norman Augustine.
Viking, 380 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 9780670809424
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Peak Performers: The New Heroes in Business 
by Charles Garfield.
Hutchinson, 333 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 09 167391 7
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Going for it: How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur 
by Victor Kiam.
Collins, 223 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 00 217603 3
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Take a chance to be first: The Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success 
by Warren Avis.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 02 504410 9
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The Winning Streak 
by Walter Goldsmith and David Clutterbuck.
Weidenfeld/Penguin, 224 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 297 78469 2
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The Roots of Excellence 
by Ronnie Lessem.
Fontana, 318 pp., £3.95, December 1985, 0 00 636874 3
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The New Management of Local Government 
by John Stewart.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 00 435232 7
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... Word of Truth writ clear. There will be Morality, Adventure, Speculation, Judgment, Outcome and Reward. Stories of personal and corporate triumph abound, but narrative is put to other uses too. Kenneth Blanchard’s best-selling ‘One Minute Manager’ series combines the barely worded zen fable with the idiom of the children’s story. Other books use narrative to bring large-scale history back ...

Posthumous Gentleman

Michael Dobson: Kit Marlowe’s Schooldays

19 August 2004
The World of Christopher Marlowe 
by David Riggs.
Faber, 411 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 571 22159 9
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Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground 
by Roy Kendall.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 453 pp., $75, January 2004, 0 8386 3974 7
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Tamburlaine Must Die 
by Louise Welsh.
Canongate, 149 pp., £9.99, July 2004, 1 84195 532 9
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History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe 
by Rodney Bolt.
HarperCollins, 388 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 00 712123 7
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... Sidney, governor of Flushing in the Netherlands, wrote to Lord Burghley to explain that he was sending one ‘Christofer Marley, by his profession a scholer’ home to him as a prisoner, along with a goldsmith called Gifford Gilbert, with whom Marlowe had been trying to counterfeit Dutch shillings before being shopped by his one-time accessory and room-mate Richard Baines. Flushing, the major port serving ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell: On the trail of the mysterious John Taylor

1 April 2004
... the pay of Dundas, and who perhaps even now was acting on Dundas’s instructions as an agent provocateur. Dundas disowned him, however, and Watt was charged with high treason, along with an elderly goldsmith called David Downie, who was unfortunate enough to be at the meeting at which Watt disclosed his crackpot plan. The government was keen to persuade the jury and public opinion (though it was ...

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