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Seventy-Second Air Force

Lachlan Mackinnon, 5 September 1985

... Kits’ are models the word for transfers is decals and six feet scale down to an inch. All the pilots were six feet tall. I dotted their faces flesh, which is fifteen parts white to one each of red and yellow. They must be modern, they must be military, they were largely American. My best were nothing like the real thing I implored to be taken to on open days ...


Lachlan Mackinnon, 16 June 1983

... The disappearance of time, a life as orderly as the formal view with its row of poplars and the sleeping river, which at the mill was brilliance but now has found its level lower, less limber; these and these alone are offered by this city with no echoes where leaves by the cathedral murmur obliquely their little snide exclusions and the tobacconists remember the dead ...

Hopkins in Wales

Lachlan Mackinnon, 5 July 1984

... A sheep nibbling earth’s firstlings is my spirit that prays for the day Christ may stoop me as a cooper denies his timber’s nature – for two years in this windy eye of God I have wrestled and prayed against myself and you ask if I have the time for poems ... Your letter brought me tears, and I was grateful. Oppression, expression, these are words but lack the radish-bite of right words for two years in the flinty field of etymology ...

Ovid: Apollo and Daphne

Lachlan Mackinnon, 26 January 1995

... After the flood, among the bogs and swamps that were spread out to dry like linen, the animals appeared, some familiar, some entirely unknown; it was like the banks of the Nile when the river wastes away and the fellaheen who turn up clogs of mud find a world half-dead, half-alive with crawling things, offspring of the marriage of warmth and water. Birds wheeled and cried on wide, fresh-coloured wings ...


John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

Archaic Figure 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 113 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 571 15043 8
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by Grevel Lindop.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 85635 697 2
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Sleeping rough 
by Charles Boyle.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1987, 0 85635 731 6
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This Other Life 
by Peter Robinson.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 85635 737 5
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In the Hot-House 
by Alan Jenkins.
Chatto, 60 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3312 0
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Monterey Cypress 
by Lachlan Mackinnon.
Chatto, 62 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3264 7
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My Darling Camel 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 64 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3286 8
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The Air Mines of Mistila 
by Philip Gross and Sylvia Kantaris.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 1 85224 055 5
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by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 131 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 0 19 281987 9
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The Arkansas Testament 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 117 pp., £3.95, March 1988, 9780571149094
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... which perhaps locates the pith of it somewhere near self-display. Undoubtedly, compared with Lachlan Mackinnon’s pleasing and consistent Monterey Cypress, Jenkins’s volume over-indulges in faux-mock glances towards narcissism. Mackinnon’s weakness is for loco-descriptive inertia, getting locked into some ...


Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’, 19 May 2016

The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... even Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna, though occasionally very sharply defined, is described by Lachlan Mackinnon as living ‘largely in unrecorded, impenetrable privacy’. Hardest of all to penetrate is the life of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, of whom nothing is known beyond the poignant fact of his death at the age of 11 in 1596. Graham Holderness ...

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