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Two Poems

Moniza Alvi, 22 February 1990

... Pilgrimage On that dreamy late afternoon the bushes alive with cabbage whites Tom led me down the tangled pathway between the mysteries of back gardens and the top of the railway bank where we were not supposed to play. At last he pointed out a clearing a sandy dip in the bank and there it lay a long fat turd. It was Neil, Tom said. Neil did it. Other children had arrived so we all gathered round in a wide circle to study it and it seemed to stare at us burnished rich brown almost kingly as if the sun enjoyed it too – an offering from a pale quiet boy ...

Ever so comfy

James Wood, 24 March 1994

Collected Poems 1953-1993 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 241 00167 6
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Dante’s Drum-Kit 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 145 pp., £6.99, November 1993, 0 571 17055 2
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Old Men and Comets 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, November 1994, 0 19 283176 3
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Plato’s Ladder 
by Stephen Romer.
Oxford, 79 pp., £6.99, November 1992, 0 19 282986 6
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The Country at My Shoulder 
by Moniza Alvi.
Oxford, 56 pp., £6.99, September 1993, 0 19 283125 9
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British Subjects 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, July 1993, 1 85224 248 5
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Night Photograph 
by Lavinia Greenlaw.
Faber, 54 pp., £5.99, October 1993, 0 571 16894 9
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Nil Nil 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 53 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16808 6
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Out of Danger 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 103 pp., £7.50, December 1993, 0 14 058719 5
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... that day was the emerald green and cobalt in the lower pane of a window, Ss Giovanni e Paolo ... Moniza Alvi, unlike Stephen Romer, has charm. As Tchaikovsky did with melody, she relies on it to get her out of difficulties. These poems are simple, a little undeveloped, dusted in detail. Several of her best-known poems like ‘I would like to be a dot in ...

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