In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood


There’s a place on the road
coming down from the hills where rows
of oyster frames unfurl
on an indigo sea
like a pattern of bamboo fans
or blocks of pale embroidery
on a geisha’s kimono,
whose knees and shoulders
press against the border
of the wood engraving
tight as Alice’s
when she started growing.

The high-piled mass
of the dead volcano cone
is her oiled and twisted hair
fighting free from its combs
to tangle in the shell-
encrusted poles. Her eyes
look crazed. A small tooth shows
between pursed lips, and one breast’s
tip in the oyster scent
of watered silk’s
loosened folds. Her mood is
storm clouds over the lagoon.

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