In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

Good to Think With

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

The Inequality Engine

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Close
Close

Chinese Bridport

Then the morning shadow falls, suddenly slanting
down monstrous apartment blocks at Porte de Choisy
and its Chinatown, over a piazza of pagoda-style
kiosks. Diaspora money with its huge fist
has thrust buildings into earth here, cliffs of them
with mud-coloured balconies and strata of pallid walls.
Knocking from his heights, an Asian fixes a lathe
and he knocks at my heart till morning shadows slant
again down Bridport’s cliffs, an early time in England
by a calm sea, a place to start poetry from.
Everyone hurries across the piazza; there’s push-chair
after push-chair, new growth, and a man spits
dangerously over the head of the baby he’s wheeling.

Money in Sunshine

For J.H. Prynne

Jeremy, marvellously tight in your word orders,
your lines never run on endlessly like this huge
rectangular high-riser; though, if the sky’s blue,
it sharpens into a classic. A pigeon flights
along precipices, past shrubs at balcony levels.
Peregrine falcon. Downstairs, a window
mumbles in Cambodian and higher up
glass swivels inwards, holes in the bedazzled.
After immigrant hardship, families come
to this excessively sublime wall of flats:
an escape from sewing, their children at it
too; they’ve saved harder than I could; bins
in the malls filled with cottons, male underpants
for a pittance; the female have vestigial lace,
go baggy in the crotch. Chinese speculators,
whose raw energy and care I admire, stretched
these balconies on too long, wanting a luxury
to gaze at. It’s like a poem with a word order
betrayed by volubility, money destroying
the limits of syllables because it won’t stop
talking until all the profit is squeezed out.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences