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Tropical Storms

Blake Morrison, 6 September 1984

Poems of Science 
edited by John Heath-Stubbs and Phillips Salman.
Penguin, 328 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 14 042317 6
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The Kingfisher 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, April 1984, 0 571 13269 3
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The Ice Factory 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13217 0
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Venus and the Rain 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Oxford, 57 pp., £4.50, June 1984, 0 19 211962 1
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Saying hello at the station 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 48 pp., £2.95, June 1984, 0 7011 2788 0
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Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 159 pp., £2.95, May 1984, 0 904919 80 3
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News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of West Indian-British Poetry 
edited by James Berry.
Chatto, 212 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 9780701127978
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Human Rites: Selected Poems 1970-1982 
by E.A. Markham.
Anvil, 127 pp., £7.95, May 1984, 0 85646 112 1
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Midsummer 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 79 pp., £3.95, July 1984, 0 571 13180 8
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... Johnson’s Imlac, urging that the poet neglect the ‘minuter discriminations’ of the tulip leaf in favour of ‘general properties’, has been unpopular for two hundred years, never more so than now, when it is believed that accumulated tiny detail – thinginess – vouches for a poem’ s authenticity. But Imlac also argues, apparently contradicting himself, that ‘to a poet nothing can be useless,’ that he ‘must know many languages and many sciences’ and through his command of botany, zoology, astronomy, politics, ethics and so on become a ‘legislator of mankind ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... McCartney, John Lennon, Robbie Williams, Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Evelyn Waugh, Auberon Waugh, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Shakespeare (although to be fair they despise the comedies and some of the history plays only). ‘It is easier, in fact,’ notes Katie, ‘to write down the people in world history that they ...

Diary

Tim Dee: Derek Walcott’s Birthday Party, 22 May 2014

... was carrying a rare and deadly virus. The jamboree included a lecture on Walcott’s work by Caryl Phillips, the launch of an edition of his poetry selected by Glyn Maxwell, a former student, and a screening of a new Dutch documentary about him.* The film was shown in the presence of the governor-general, who wore a St Lucian blue twinset. Alongside her was a ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... recommended. From Paris, it was on to New York. Meeting Partisan Review’s co-editor William Phillips at a party, Sontag, now a single mother living on a shoestring, got right to business: ‘How do you write a review for Partisan Review?’ ‘You ask,’ Phillips replied. ‘I’m asking,’ she ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time, 21 September 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... multiculturalism has been popular in Britain’s right-wing press since Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie. And there is nothing ‘post-liberal’ about arguments for a less diverse population. Liberalism, flatteringly identified by Goodhart with cosmopolitan tolerance, has long been more at home with nationalism, imperialism and even ...

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