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18 September 1980
Selected Poems 
by Patricia Beer.
Hutchinson, 152 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 09 138450 8
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The Venetian Vespers 
by Anthony Hecht.
Oxford, 91 pp., £3.95, March 1980, 0 19 211933 8
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Nostalgia for the Present 
by Andrei Voznesensky.
Oxford, 150 pp., £3.50, April 1980, 0 19 211900 1
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Reflections on the Nile 
by Ronald Bottrall.
London Magazine Editions, 56 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 904388 33 6
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Summer Palaces 
by Peter Scupham.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3, March 1980, 9780192119322
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... Cornflowers’, the fifth time with capitals. Persuasive. In ‘American Buttons’ the best lines are those quoted from the American buttons themselves: ‘Men are the ancestors of apes,’ ‘Ronald Reagan is a lesbian,’ ‘If it moves, fondle it.’ Lastly, to return to the issue of nationalism, there is a long poem here, too, ‘Story Under Full Sail’, a group of lyrics about a ...
16 December 1993
Aren’t We Due a Royalty Statement? 
by Giles Gordon.
Chatto, 352 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 7011 6022 5
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Yesterday Came Suddenly 
by Francis King.
Constable, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1993, 9780094722200
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Excursions in the Real World 
by William Trevor.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 09 177086 6
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... motif of forgetfulness is heard throughout the book. Gordon held an umbrella over Judi Dench on her way ‘to I think it was Heal’s in Tottenham Court Road’. He made some changes to an article by Ronald Harwood but as to what they were: ‘I really can’t remember.’ This motif could be a useful technical device in another context but in this case it can only be a motive: to cut the great and ...
19 August 1999
The English Horace: Anthony Alsop and the Traditions of British Latin Verse 
by D.K. Money.
Oxford, 406 pp., £38, December 1998, 0 19 726184 1
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... to revive his schoolboy years through coterie verse. His poems show Neo-Latin becoming an in-language for chaps. Alsop (his very name announces that, like Leavis’s impossibly named favourite RonaldBottrall, he could never make it in the canon) is not the English Horace. He is a Neo-Latin simulacrum of Horace. What is lacking in his writing is any live sense of inter-cultural stress: he has no ...


Clive James

21 October 1982
... on these flights Of rapture as they cluster round a thistle And call the thing a rose and spend their nights Composing articles that make you whistle, Since even Leavis’s worst panegyrics For RonaldBottrall didn’t sound like lyrics? The dons are punished for their dereliction With dour gibes from the joyless Donald Davie Who demonstrates at length Sue’s vaunted diction Tastes thin compared ...
23 October 1986
Hugh MacDiarmid: The Man and his Work 
by Nancy Gish.
Macmillan, 235 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 333 29473 4
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Complete Poems 
by Hugh MacDiarmid.
Penguin, £8.95, February 1985, 0 14 007913 0
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... he was condemned: one passage which Gish cites as an unusual moment of warmth is a quotation from F.R. Leavis’s New Bearings in English Poetry where the way forward from Eliot is held to lie with RonaldBottrall. To their credit, Eliot and Leavis did give some attention to MacDiarmid despite their political differences: but it was Edwin Muirrather than MacDiarmid who became canonised as a Faber Poet ...

Fellow Genius

Claude Rawson

5 January 1989
The Poems of John Oldham 
edited by Harold Brooks and Raman Selden.
Oxford, 592 pp., £60, February 1987, 0 19 812456 2
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... in the Mall of late, Alone, and musing on I know not what; Comes a familiar Fop, whom hardly I Knew by his name, and rudely seizes me. It’s a powerfully assured and innovative voice within what RonaldBottrall once described as the ‘colloquial tradition’ in English poetry. It has a thrusting flatness, equally free of gnarled Skeltonic overkill and of Rochesterian overheating (that charged ...
24 August 1995
F.R. Leavis: A Life in Criticism 
by Ian MacKillop.
Allen Lane, 476 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 7139 9062 7
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... because Ralph Leavis, as a small boy and a prodigy, entertained the visitor with precocious literary and musical talk. Younger writers Leavis admired but turned against included William Empson and RonaldBottrall, who had once been his ‘tips’ for the future of poetry; after Seven Types of Ambiguity, which was repeatedly praised, Empson began to seem less intelligent. A remarkably successful ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson

14 January 2002
... Like a Leper’ and, even better, ‘Pity Me Not’. ‘Like a Leper’, I think, had the edge on ‘Pity Me Not’; but there we go. I’m not sure which was which; but one of them I sent to Ronald Duncan at the Royal Court. Immense crowd scenes, people standing around, pitying the hero – i.e. me.It sounds very like Duncan. It was. This Way to the Tomb was his big play at the time. I liked ...

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