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Neil Rennie, 21 March 1991

... Underneath a Mazda bulb sits Coconut Joe, head buried in Tracy chez les coupeurs de têtes, having an idea, brilliantly seeing why the quonset huts where Tracy sang went slowly down, gurgling, off Million Dollar Point: ‘Joe, Joe, Coconut Joe, walks around like an NCO ...

Love and the Aeroplane

Neil Rennie, 8 November 1979

... A Tropical Voyage Trade mirrors for the chiefs’ faces, combs and soap are piled on deck. In two lines of sailor hats, the boatboys sing a native song to Ideal milk and bully-beef in shining tins, while underneath the launch the waves change places in a series, each with another one the same. Tess Trueheart with Tracy in a Plantation At a number of points across the slanted lines of smaller and smaller palms, her blonde hair curls into so many noughts ...

Fine Women

Neil Rennie, 6 July 1989

The Pacific since Magellan. Vol. III: Paradise Found and Lost 
by O.H.K. Spate.
Routledge, 410 pp., £40, January 1989, 0 415 02565 6
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Captain Bligh: The Man and his Mutinies 
by Gavin Kennedy.
Duckworth, 321 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 7156 2231 5
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The Sublime Savage: James Macpherson and the Poems of Ossian 
by Fiona Stafford.
Edinburgh, 208 pp., £22.50, November 1988, 0 85224 569 6
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... In the 1760s the greatest gap in Western knowledge of the world – the Pacific – was plugged, in theory, by the great southern continent of Terra Australis, awaiting its Columbus. Within a few decades this continent had been exploded, mostly by its anti-Columbus, James Cook, and crumbled into a multitude of islands in a vast ocean, mapped, measured and ready for invasion by beachcombers, traders, whalers, missionaries, colonial administrators and, in their wake, historians ...

Where am I?

Greg Dening, 31 October 1996

Far-Fetched Facts: The Literature of Travel and the Idea of the South Seas 
by Neil Rennie.
Oxford, 330 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 19 811975 5
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... good and evil effects of missions. The ‘literature’ of this theatre is the preoccupation of Neil Rennie’s Far-Fetched Facts. It takes him down awell-worn and, as he seesit, narrow path. Bernard Smith showed the way in two magnificent books, European Vision and the South Pacific, 1768-1850 (1960) and Imagining the Pacific (1992) – from some ...

Other Poems and Other Poets

Donald Davie, 20 September 1984

Notes from New York, and Other Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 19 211959 1
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The Cargo 
by Neil Rennie.
TNR Productions, 27 pp., January 1984
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Collected Poems 1943-1983 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 383 pp., £14.95, April 1984, 0 85635 498 8
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... either person, still less the relationship between them. This happens, I’m afraid, with Neil Rennie’s The Cargo, 15 very short poems arranged so as to be ‘the first three parts’ of a supposedly longer work in progress. Rennie, I think, doesn’t mean to be a tease; his teasingness has less to do with a ...

Imbalance

Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams, 22 May 2003

Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... The cultural compendiousness of ‘Postwar British’ and ‘World’s End’, dedicated to Neil Rennie, both of which have something of Rennie’s anthropological intelligence. The deployment, for once, of a more formal vocabulary in ‘Going Round Afterwards’ and the fine elegiac sequence for Hugh ...

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