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This Condensery

August Kleinzahler: In Praise of Lorine Niedecker, 5 June 2003

Collected Works 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
California, 471 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 22433 7
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Collected Studies in the Use of English 
by Kenneth Cox.
Agenda, 270 pp., £12, September 2001, 9780902400696
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New Goose 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
Listening Chamber, 98 pp., $10, January 2002, 0 9639321 6 0
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... Lorine Niedecker’s poetry, much has been left out, but these few words written to the critic Kenneth Cox in 1966 provide us with the biographical gist. This Collected Works should succeed, at long last, in establishing Niedecker as one of the most important and original poets of this past century and in bringing her work into the mainstream, where it ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... and the professional skills of the historian. But it must be disturbing when academics in white coats come to take you away for intense observation in the oral history ward. If the old identify too closely with the ideas and emotions of the past, the young have difficulty in understanding them at all. If their politics descend from the radicalism of ...

At Dulwich

Emily LaBarge: Helen Frankenthaler, 16 December 2021

... was out of town, her then boyfriend, Clement Greenberg, brought the painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland to her studio to see Mountains and Sea. Louis described it as ‘a bridge between Pollock and what was possible’, and said later that he and Noland immediately began ‘staining’ in their own work. (Greenberg went on to champion them as leading ...

Skating Charm

James Wolcott: Kenneth Tynan, 13 December 2001

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan 
edited by John Lahr.
Bloomsbury, 439 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 7475 5418 8
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... Kenneth Tynan smoked like a maestro, an aficionado of his own smooth technique. As the stripper sings in Gypsy, ‘Ya gotta have a gimmick,’ and photograph after photograph shows Tynan squiring a cigarette between the tips of his middle and ring fingers (his trademark), each puff drawing attention to the languid elegance of his long, slender, concert-pianist hands ...

Downhill Racer

John Sutherland, 16 August 1990

Lying together 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 255 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 575 04802 6
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The Neon Bible 
by John Kennedy Toole.
Viking, 162 pp., £12.99, March 1990, 0 670 82908 0
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Solomon Gursky was here 
by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 576 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 394 53995 8
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Death of the Soap Queen 
by Peter Prince.
Bloomsbury, 277 pp., £13.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0611 6
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... work had let go earlier. He began the ‘Russian Nights’ enterprise on the crest of a wave. The White Hotel (1981) catapulted him to international fame. It was a novelist’s fairy-tale: ignored or ridiculed as high-falutin’ pornography in the UK, Thomas’s Freudian fantasia sold only a few hundred and seemed destined for oblivion. But it was ...

Least said, soonest Mende

John Ryle, 4 December 1986

Radiance from the Waters: Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Mende Art 
by Sylvia Ardyn Boone.
Yale, 281 pp., £30, August 1986, 0 300 03576 4
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... Radiance of the Waters, in fact, is only the second book to be written about them (the other is by Kenneth Little, an anthropologist whose The Mende of Sierra Leone first appeared in 1951). Why this comparative neglect, this failure to engage the attention of scholars? Is it due to the peripheral position of the Mende among Mande-derived cultures – the fact ...


Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word, 1 October 1987

... We do not wish newspapers to fall into too few hands’: Kenneth Clarke, Trade and Industry Minister. ‘There could hardly be a more obvious increase in concentration than acquisition of a fifth national newspaper by a group which already owns four’: Sir Zelman Cowen, Chairman of the Press Council. Both these comments were made about the recent takeover of Today newspaper by Rupert Murdoch ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art, 7 September 2017

... than there are men – a fact the Tate curators acknowledge, along with the infrequency of non-white faces: ‘We have been constantly frustrated by the comparative scarcity of material.’ In a section somewhat dutifully titled ‘Defying Convention’, we find John Singer Sargent’s 1881 portrait of an austerely boyish Vernon Lee, and Alvaro Guevara’s ...

Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler, 17 November 2005

Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... few days after James Schuyler had been admitted to Bloomingdale Hospital, a mental institution in White Plains, New York. Schuyler still gets his semi-colons right, and his appetite for gossip is undiminished: ‘Is it still Connecticut, the dear deer, the steady lay, the unprivate walls?’ His correspondent, John Hohnsbeen, an art-dealer friend, was having ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 5 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... one to rise to no heroics. What is the charm, after all, but just the abyss of the familiar.’ Kenneth Clark, who grew up at Sudbourne Hall, a now demolished Wyatt house near Orford, said that what made the Dark Ages so dark was ‘the isolation, the lack of mobility, the lack of curiosity, the hopelessness’. The way some of its admirers talk about ...

At the Shrink

Janique Vigier, 22 October 2020

... mimeographed magazine 0 to 9, which combined work by poets and artists – Clark Coolidge, Kenneth Koch, Adrian Piper, Robert Smithson, Yvonne Rainer. From Memory by Bernadette Mayer, Siglio, 2020. Courtesy Bernadette Mayer Papers, Special Collections & Archives, University of California, San Diego. Memory, a ‘conceptual piece lacking ...

What ho, Giotto!

Julian Symons, 7 February 1991

Stanley Spencer 
by Kenneth Pople.
Collins, 576 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 00 215320 3
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... as in the apparently gigantic goitre of St Francis in St Francis and the Birds of 1935. Kenneth Pople, who writes throughout only just this side of idolatry, is never at a loss to explain such obscurities, very often referring them back to Cookham and its people. It is ‘not unreasonable to suppose’, he says, that St Francis represents Pa as he ...

The Kid Who Talked Too Much and Became President

David Simpson: Clinton on Clinton, 23 September 2004

My Life 
by Bill Clinton.
Hutchinson, 957 pp., £25, June 2004, 0 09 179527 3
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... necessity we should not make into a moral virtue. When Clinton was first campaigning for the White House there was much talk of the handshake that lasted just a little too long, the eye contact that seemed too extended for mere protocol. But he was and is a charmer who deployed his social needs in the cause of interminable negotiations with a lot of ...

Long live Shevardnadze

Don Cook, 22 June 1989

by Andrei Gromyko, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 365 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 09 173808 3
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Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy 
by Anders Stephanson.
Harvard, 424 pp., $35, April 1989, 0 674 50265 5
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... a gathering in Moscow of top-level participants in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, from both the White House and the Kremlin: they were meeting to discuss how those events unfolded in each capital, and how decisions were made on each side, almost minute by minute. One of the participants was Andrei Gromyko, just before his recent retirement as President of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Tweeting at an Execution, 6 October 2011

... crime, and a number of witnesses from the car park pointed to him as having been the man in the white shirt. The fact that seven of these nine witnesses later recanted appeared to have little influence on the final outcome. Desmond Tutu got involved. So did Pope Benedict. But it was the millions of Twitter users who seemed most powerfully in attendance ...

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