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Richard Murphy

15 October 1981
...  ...

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 ...
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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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 ...


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 ...
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
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 ...
11 November 1999
Marx on Suicide 
edited by Eric Plaut and Kevin Anderson, translated by Gabrielle Edgcomb.
Northwestern, 152 pp., £11.20, May 1999, 0 8101 1632 4
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Suicide in the Middle Ages, Vol I: The Violent Against Themselves 
by Alexander Murray.
Oxford, 510 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 19 820539 2
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A History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Johns Hopkins, 420 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 8018 5919 0
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... restored Bourbons had become archivist of the police records of Paris and hence a benefactor of Richard Cobb and readers of his Death in Paris (1978). The records of suicide caught Peuchet’s eye, and he had a line on it. The line was to defend suicides against the customary condemnation by claiming, like Thomas Hood in ‘The Bridge of Sighs’, that ...

At the Met

David Hansen: Richard Serra

30 June 2011
... fell neatly end to end. It was balletic; it was a card trick; it was industrial. It was totally Richard Serra. The artist wouldn’t thank me for the analogy. Analogy isn’t Serra’s thing. But as a foreigner, you can’t visit America and not see the forms and the textures and the dynamics of the Serraverse everywhere you look: in the serial squares of ...


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 ...

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