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Snap Me

Peter Howarth: ‘A Theory of 20th-Century Poetry’, 6 October 2016

Poetic Artifice: A Theory of 20th-Century Poetry 
by Veronica Forrest-Thomson, edited by Gareth Farmer.
Shearsman, 238 pp., £16.95, April 2016, 978 1 84861 445 1
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... like all true artificers “I” remains enigmatical, presenting only the words on the page.’ Veronica Forrest-Thomson has been trying to rescue Sylvia Plath’s ‘Purdah’ from the critics who think the poem is a straightforward confession of her desire to avenge herself on Ted Hughes. ‘Why she should have bothered to write poems if this was ...


Rebecca Tamás, 11 October 2018

... You have burnt me too brown you must boil me again Veronica Forrest-Thomson     i kept having this hunch that pleasure was a philosophy    but i couldn’t explain it       peach juice   going down   my cheek   wet penis hovering over the blue dip of my crotch     thin dramatic  ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening, 22 March 2018

... in Arbury Court, part of the Arbury Estate: it is inspired by Islamic art but uses the words of Veronica Forrest-Thomson. The work on show here has spread into the fabric of the city, as it was always meant to. Jim and Helen Ede left Kettle’s Yard in 1973. They retired to a flat in Edinburgh, taking very little with them. Jim took his hairbrushes but ...

Watermonster Blues

William Wootten: Edwin Morgan, 18 November 2004

Edwin Morgan: Inventions of Modernity 
by Colin Nicholson.
Manchester, 216 pp., £40, October 2002, 0 7190 6360 4
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translated by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 118 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 588 5
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by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 617 2
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... d     i e In his lecture, Morgan cites Veronica Forrest-Thomson as one of the precursors of the American Language School. Forrest-Thomson tried to mix literary theory with Wittgenstein and some of the poetics of J.H. Prynne. She died young, and her poetry ...

The heart of standing is you cannot fly

Frank Kermode: Empson and Obscurity, 22 June 2000

The Complete Poems of William Empson 
edited by John Haffenden.
Allen Lane, 410 pp., £30, April 2000, 0 7139 9287 5
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... like ‘irrotational’ mean. There is a calmly elaborate and authoritative interpretation by Veronica Forrest-Thomson in an essay quoted by the assiduous Haffenden but worth reading through in the Yearbook of English Studies for 1974. It gives one some idea of what was going on in the poet’s head when he was about 22. Courage and honour may not ...

Every three years

Blake Morrison, 3 March 1988

Fifty Poems 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 51 pp., £4.95, January 1988, 0 571 14920 0
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A Various Art 
edited by Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville.
Carcanet, 377 pp., £12.95, December 1987, 0 85635 698 0
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Between Leaps: Poems 1972-1985 
by Brad Leithauser.
Oxford, 81 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 19 282089 3
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by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 71 pp., £4.50, October 1987, 0 905291 88 3
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by John Ash.
Carcanet, 127 pp., £6.95, September 1987, 0 85635 695 6
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The Automatic Oracle 
by Peter Porter.
Oxford, 72 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 19 282088 5
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by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 7011 3313 9
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... Roy Fisher and J.H. Prynne in Donald Davie’s Thomas Hardy and British Poetry, the late Veronica Forrest-Thomson through her own theoretical book Poetic Artifice. In spurning both a polemical introduction and the biographical notes, this anthology may define itself against the run of post-war anthologies, but it does no favours for its ...

In the Hothouse

Peter Howarth: Swinburne, 8 November 2018

21st-Century Oxford Authors: Algernon Charles Swinburne 
edited by Francis O’Gorman.
Oxford, 722 pp., £95, December 2016, 978 0 19 967224 0
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... the effect. Defending Swinburne against Eliot’s complaint that his vocabulary was imprecise, Veronica Forrest-Thomson remarked on his semantic ‘oscillations’, where the same word is introduced and then redefined several times within the same poem, without quite settling down in one context. This is the semiotic equivalent, and both find their ...

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