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August Kleinzahler: Ashbery’s Early Life, 21 September 2017

The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life 
by Karin Roffman.
Farrar, Straus, 316 pp., £25.50, June 2017, 978 0 374 29384 0
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... art and literary society with its own yellow building at 46 Dunster Street’. It was there he met Kenneth Koch, and the two got on famously, as they would for the next fifty years. Ashbery was asked to read at the Widener Library Poetry Room, where he was already a near permanent presence. He listened to lots of music on the Victrola he bought for his ...

Red makes wrong

Mark Ford: Harry Mathews, 20 March 2003

The Human Country: New and Collected Stories 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 186 pp., £10.99, October 2002, 1 56478 321 9
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The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 290 pp., £10.99, April 2003, 1 56478 288 3
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... himself (who also funded it with a legacy from his grandfather), Ashbery, James Schuyler and Kenneth Koch. Like most avant-garde magazines, Locus Solus (named after Roussel’s second prose novel, published in 1914, and with an epigraph from his final long poem, from 1932, Nouvelles impressions d’Afrique), was founded primarily as a forum for the ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... Modernism of e.e.cummings, were just as much part of the movement as Ed Dorn, Robert Creeley or Kenneth Koch. With his Essex Poems, even Donald Davie, the very type of the English conservative poet-critic, appeared to have capitulated to ‘American’ Modernism, just as the more recent poems of Charles Tomlinson seemed touched by the dotty ...

What Life Says to Us

Stephanie Burt: Robert Creeley, 21 February 2008

The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1945-75 
California, 681 pp., £12.55, October 2006, 0 520 24158 4Show More
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1975-2005 
California, 662 pp., £29.95, October 2006, 0 520 24159 2Show More
On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay 
by Robert Creeley.
California, 89 pp., £12.95, April 2006, 0 520 24791 4
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Selected Poems: 1945-2005 
by Robert Creeley, edited by Benjamin Friedlander.
California, 339 pp., $21.95, January 2008, 978 0 520 25196 0
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... At a Harvard College full of incipient talent – his classmates included Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery and Donald Hall – Creeley felt discouraged and alone. ‘My eager thirst for knowledge, almost Jude-the-Obscurian in its innocence, was all but shut down by the sardonic stance of my elders,’ he recalled. He left college in ...

Social Arrangements

John Bayley, 30 December 1982

The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... little short tale in verse about the buzz saw, a sonnet of Dante admirably translated by Kenneth Koch, Adrian Mitchell’s ‘Giving Potatoes’, Theodore Roethke’s ‘The Meadow Mouse’ or a 12-line poem by James Stephens (author of The Crock of Gold) entitled ‘A Glass of Beer’, whose concluding curse on a disobliging barmaid purports to ...

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu 
by Simon Callow.
Cape, 640 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 224 03852 4
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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 460 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 316 91437 1
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... working. He simply didn’t know any other.’ He was not much good at sharing either, as Howard Koch, Herman Mankiewicz, John Houseman and others discovered to their cost. ‘Orson’s concern was entirely for Orson,’ Joan Fontaine, his co-star in Jane Eyre, remembers. James G. Stewart, the veteran dubbing mixer on Citizen Kane, describes what it was like ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... of the museum), and the other half from just four people: the hedge fund billionaires Leon Black, Kenneth Griffin and Steven Cohen, and the media mogul David Geffen (a new centre is named after Cohen and his wife, and an entire wing after Geffen). They responded to the call of MoMA’s director, Glenn Lowry, to recapture the idea proposed by Alfred Barr, its ...

Castration

Lorna Scott Fox, 24 November 1994

Mea Cuba 
by G. Cabrera Infante, translated by Kenneth Hall.
Faber, 497 pp., £17.50, October 1994, 0 571 17255 5
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Before Night Falls 
by Reinaldo Arenas, translated by Dolores Koch.
Viking, 317 pp., £16, July 1994, 0 670 84078 5
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... Ever since 1956, when Fidel Castro left Veracruz for Santiago de Cuba like a conquistador in reverse, Mexican-Cuban relations have been a sensitive area. Cynical Mexicans might take the view that their government’s attitude is, or rather was, a matter of ‘I’ll support your revolution – and appear to take a stand against the US – if you don’t export it over here ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 19 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... to fisticuffs over Barbara? What made Janetta, still married to Hugh Slater, fall in love with Kenneth Sinclair-Loutit, and would that relationship last?Taylor wades deep into the cigaretty fug of that small literary circle awash with till-boredom-do-us-part love affairs conducted in rented accommodation. (The love affairs were usually shorter than the ...

Magnifico

David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... him the offer to come to Hollywood and make a picture for RKO. The Martian script was by Howard Koch, who would later work on Casablanca and The Letter, but everyone always knew that Welles’s contribution was central. He had advised Koch to employ the present tense and let the story unfold as a piece of live radio: it ...

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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... wrote in Ouch, his first solo pamphlet, ‘Alas his art is dead.’ New York (Ashbery, O’Hara, Koch) seemed to have the glamour, the community, that England lacked. With gifts of a different order, and a more concentrated ego, he could have made an Audenesque transfer to the Lower East Side. ‘Cockney visionaries’ were not then on the agenda. His ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... Ireland in response to the new threat, given the view of the former commissioner of the Met, Sir Kenneth Newman, that Northern Ireland made an ideal laboratory for policing methods to be tested out, before being applied to the mainland. In The Politics of Force: Conflict Management and State Violence in Northern Ireland (2002), Fionnula Ní Aoláin has ...

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