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Transfigurations

Roger Garfitt, 20 March 1980

The Weddings at Nether Powers 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 166 pp., £2.95, July 1979, 0 7100 0255 6
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... One of the tropes of Classical rhetoric, which surfaced again in the Jacobean fascination with death, was that of the relentless mutability of matter – Alexander the Great could be turned in his clay to the bung in a wine barrel. It is a trope that recurs repeatedly in Peter Redgrove’s recent work, You take turns to be food, Before you can grind wheat you have to be wheat, Before you can eat bread you are a nice new crust Eaten by Mary, who chooses a crust-you here, A mouthful of Shakespeare’s breath there, a glass Of transparent Genghis Khan there, but in a very different spirit from the Classical original ...

Where Colombia screwed up

Roger Garfitt, 13 June 1991

... The response of the girl on Passport Control at Heathrow was typical. ‘Where have you just come from, sir?’ she asked as she took my passport ‘Bogota,’ I replied. ‘Oh, Christ!’ she said, and handed it straight back, as if it might still be charged with danger. I have spent much of my time in Colombia over the last five years. Only once have I experienced anything like danger ...

Just like Rupert Brooke

Tessa Hadley: 1960s Oxford, 5 April 2012

The Horseman’s Word: A Memoir 
by Roger Garfitt.
Cape, 378 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 224 08986 9
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... study to be written about Oxford undergraduates of the 1960s – or perhaps this book is it. Roger Garfitt in his daffodil-yellow pinstripe suit and silver-topped cane – mingling with the other ‘heads’, boiling up asthma drugs for a hit, talking of samsara and Kropotkin – seems a type as exotic as an Elizabethan dandy: We would split an amp ...

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