In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane


David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

A Funny SmellGareth Reeves

‘It couldn’t have,’ said the rat man,
‘Warfarin makes them head for the open, gasping.’
It had slunk under the floor to decompose.
Father: ‘It’s Brooke again, he’s smelling’
– Brooke being the critic who had slammed him –
and we’d chorus it round the house, holding our noses.

Not the stuff of poetry, rotting rats.
Yeats turned father down for the Oxford Modern Verse
with ‘Too reasonable, too truthful. We poets
should be good liars ... gay warty lads’ – perverse:
at about that time he was busy climbing down
to set up in rag and bone. Father harboured that.
His poems continued to ripple in subsong
over the backwater, feathering the inky currents.

As I remember this it all seems a lie.
Did we prise up the boards? Did the smell just fade?
When I was ten, for every poem I wrote
he promised me sixpence. After that I was silent.
Why is it poems kill people off before they are dead?
– every poem an epitaph and so on. Now he’s not here
I’d bring him alive, warts and all. I’ll pay.

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