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Mothballs

Sylvia Kantaris, 18 October 1984

... Things had to be preserved – embroideries, best dresses, lacy curtains, tablecloths too delicate and beautiful to use except in dreams perhaps. But in real life they just stayed, folded, in a shroud of sheets, protected from the moths by napthalene. Each cupboard, chest and wardrobe leaked a heady scent of mothballs. Things would keep. Underneath the soil now, in her best at last, her needlework, at least, is preserved, and maybe lacy angels trained to trace the scent of napthalene down to its source have wafted her economising soul up into a gauzy haze of tablecloths, and heaven is protected for eternity against battalions of invading moths ...

Mud Honeymoon

Sylvia Kantaris, 18 July 1985

... The tide had drawn the river out and made their bridal bed immaculate. Too late now to stop. Already they had grown amphibious and entered slithering and stripping off Age after Age of formal wedding-dress to reach their satin element of mud, their skin a sheen of mud, their belly mud on mud, their pulse a simple wedding march of mud. They were not seen again although it’s said some early-morning fisherman dragged up a tailcoat and a bridal train from the riverbed but could not disentangle them and threw them back ...

Floral Tribute

Sylvia Kantaris, 7 March 1985

... They have arranged themselves like show animals: the tulips sleek, blood-colour; the slightly fierce carnations; the double-daffodils with green tongues. You’d think they should have squirmed, shrouded in tissue-paper to be delivered when they are so immaculately groomed, their stalks taut and strong enough to stand up to most weathers. They seem to have stretched since they arrived and shifted a little bit although I didn’t catch them in the act ...

With the Woolwich

C.H. Sisson, 18 July 1985

New and Collected Poems: 1934-84 
by Roy Fuller.
Secker in association with London Magazine Editions, 557 pp., £14.95, June 1985, 0 436 16790 5
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The Sea at the Door 
by Sylvia Kantaris.
Secker, 70 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 23070 4
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... been rather rare, and the number of poets who outlive their century has always been minuscule. Sylvia Kantaris’s Sea at the Door breaks on the Cornish coast, but she comes from the Peak District and has travelled to the other side of the world and – perhaps more significantly – next door, to France. She confesses that travelogues bore her, and ...

Travellers

John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

Archaic Figure 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 113 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 571 15043 8
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Tourists 
by Grevel Lindop.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 85635 697 2
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Sleeping rough 
by Charles Boyle.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1987, 0 85635 731 6
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This Other Life 
by Peter Robinson.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 85635 737 5
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In the Hot-House 
by Alan Jenkins.
Chatto, 60 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3312 0
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Monterey Cypress 
by Lachlan Mackinnon.
Chatto, 62 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3264 7
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My Darling Camel 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 64 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3286 8
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The Air Mines of Mistila 
by Philip Gross and Sylvia Kantaris.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 1 85224 055 5
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X/Self 
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 131 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 0 19 281987 9
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The Arkansas Testament 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 117 pp., £3.95, March 1988, 9780571149094
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... from being written out of speculation, preferably in a well-endowed library. Philip Gross and Sylvia Kantaris combine their considerable gifts to create a colourful peopled world, lit up by ‘magic realism’. Intoxicated by the topography they have invented, they nevertheless satirise the notions imposed upon the exotic by ...

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