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The Lettuce

Maurice Riordan, 19 October 1995

... I gave the barrow-girl two quid for it, a frisée lettuce, a wild intricate wheel, nature’s very own bright-green mandala. A lot of money but I paid up gladly, even though at that time, anxious and overtired, I parted most weeks from something: my bike hitched to a loose strut; then gloves, umbrella, wallet, cards, glasses – all left on the train ...
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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... a single symbolic world is something that poets like Armitage and Maxwell are trying to copy. In Maurice Riordan’s first collection, A Word From the Loki, the title poem reflects the practice, which Northern Irish poets have adopted in recent years, of glossing individual words, so that parts of their poems sound like dictionary entries. ...

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