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Amazement

Richard Murphy, 15 October 1981

... These are the just Who kill unjustly men they call unjust. These are the pure in heart Who see God smeared in excrement on walls. These are the patriots Who starve to give the ravening media food. These are the martyrs Who die for a future buried in the past. These are the sacrifice A word imprisoned and a word could save ...

Bookcase for the OED

Richard Murphy, 24 January 1980

...                       All the words I need               Stored like seed in a pyramid To bring back from the dead your living shade   Lie coffined in this thing of wood you made            Of solid pine mortised and glued                 Not long before you died.                  Words you’ll never read         Are good for nothing but to spread Your greater love of craft in word and deed A gift to make your friends’ desires succeed         While inwardly with pain you bled              To keep your own pride hid ...

Ice Rink

Richard Murphy, 7 February 1985

... Reflections of a spotlit mirror-ball, Casting a light net over a pearl pond In oval orbits, magnify my haul Of small fry at a disco, coiled in sound. On anti-clockwise tracks, all shod with steel, Initiates feel exalted; starlets glide To cut more ice with convoluted skill Practising tricks that lure them to backslide. Their figure-carving feet have chased my skin With puckish onslaught ...

Out of Sight

Richard Murphy: What is a tax haven?, 14 April 2011

... In his budget last month George Osborne announced that if in the future a UK company runs its internal banking arrangements through a tax haven subsidiary it will benefit from a special tax rate of just 5.75 per cent of the resulting profits. The rate is exceptionally low: the same activity undertaken in the UK is taxed at 23 per cent. It is a change that will delight corporate tax avoiders everywhere: the UK will now condone the use of tax havens in locations such as the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the Isle of Man ...

Neil Corcoran confronts the new recklessness

Neil Corcoran, 28 September 1989

Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 86 4701 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... this me? The fields are mined and the night is long; Stick with me when the shooting starts. Richard Murphy is not a reckless poet. Those who rate him surely rate him much too highly. Ted Hughes compliments him with the anti-reckless word ‘classical’ and with ‘the gift of epic objectivity’, and Seamus Heaney praises his ‘poised and ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Spies, 22 July 2010

... spy ring, who was bailed in Cyprus and then disappeared – was overheard telling the complaining Richard Murphy (né Vladimir Guryev), ‘Well, I’m so happy I’m not your handler,’ before reluctantly giving him his $40,000 in cash, is taken as evidence that their paymasters thought they were a bunch of losers. The international TV channel Russia ...

Meltdown

Anthony Thwaite, 26 October 1989

Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath 
by Anne Stevenson.
Viking, 413 pp., £15.95, October 1989, 0 670 81854 2
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... substantial separate memoirs printed at the back of the book, by Lucas Myers, Dido Merwin and Richard Murphy. These are drawn on in the book by Stevenson, certainly, but their main force is to act as coda or epilogue, three discrete but linked addenda, all of them emphasising the role of Sylvia Plath as aggressor and catalyst, and of Ted and Olwyn ...

Boeotian Masters

Donald Davie, 5 November 1992

The Paperbark Tree: Selected Prose 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 360 pp., £18.95, September 1992, 0 85635 976 9
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... is distinct from genetic inheritance: but when Murray finds a Celt in, of all Irish poets, Richard Murphy, he has ignored all the evidence of miscegenation, literal and metaphoric, through the centuries – evidence scrupulously marshalled in Murphy’s own poems. If ‘this war has now been won’, it is a ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... Hare’ and ‘Letter from a Far Country’, where much is said by leaving the rest unsaid. Richard Murphy, too, leaves a good deal unsaid. The price of stone is high, apparently, but he hasn’t computed it in detail; we are meant to leap from one assessment to the next. To begin with, it is the price of trying to build a house in granite, and ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... to enrich another. ‘Rapparees, white-boys, volunteers, ribbonmen ...’: so runs a line in Richard Murphy’s poem ‘Green Martyrs’, one of Kinsella’s choices, naming bands of disaffected countrymen from the 17th century to the 19th, and getting the fullest flavour from these allusions; in a similar way, the phrase ‘hedge school’, with ...

You can’t put it down

Fintan O’Toole, 18 July 1996

The Fourth Estate 
by Jeffrey Archer.
HarperCollins, 550 pp., £16.99, May 1996, 0 00 225318 6
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Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press 
by Matthew Engel.
Gollancz, 352 pp., £20, April 1996, 9780575061439
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Newspaper Power: The New National Press in Britain 
by Jeremy Tunstall.
Oxford, 441 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 19 871133 6
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... out for their quintessentially Post-Modern character. One was the fall of a Tory junior minister, Richard Spring, exposed by your old friends at the News of the World for taking part in a three-in-a-bed sex session. This was a political ‘event’ supposedly ‘reported’ by newspapers and television. But the event itself occurred only in order to be ...

The Pills in the Fridge

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Christodora’, 29 March 2017

Christodora 
by Tim Murphy.
Picador, 432 pp., £16.99, February 2017, 978 1 5098 1857 0
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... The Christodora​ of Tim Murphy’s novel is a New York apartment building, ‘handsomely simple’, built on the corner of Avenue B and 9th Street in the 1920s. By the 1980s the area had become known as the East Village, and the building had come down in the world. After a fire it was refurbished and turned into a condominium, in which Steven Traum, an urban planner, bought an apartment, using it as office space while he continued to live on the Upper East Side ...

Saint John Henry

Richard Altick, 5 August 1982

John Henry Newman: His Life and Work 
by Brian Martin.
Chatto, 160 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7011 2588 8
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Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England 
by Walter Arnstein.
Missouri, 271 pp., £14, June 1982, 9780826203540
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... of a mid-Victorian Ian Paisley, an Irishman bearing the exquisitely un-Protestant name of Murphy, which enliven the pages of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy: but both belong to the same record of continual religious controversy in 19th-century England. (It was intramural contention, however, not the larger one between Protestant and ...

Entrepreneurship

Tom Paulin: Ted Hughes and the Hare, 29 November 2007

Letters of Ted Hughes 
edited by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 756 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 571 22138 7
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... hoping to find a house where she could spend the winter (their difficult stay is recounted by Richard Murphy in his autobiography The Kick). Hughes’s letters appear cheerful and engaged and free of guilt. At this time, curiously, he concocts a plan to send poems out under one or two pseudonyms. He wants to invent a rival poet, ‘or perhaps ...

The Vice President’s Men

Seymour M. Hersh, 24 January 2019

... next couple of years he oversaw a secret team – operating in part out of the office of Daniel Murphy, Bush’s chief of staff – which quietly conducted at least 35 covert operations against drug trafficking, terrorism and, most important, perceived Soviet expansionism in more than twenty countries, including ...

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