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

Two PoemsCharles Simic
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In the Planetarium

Never-yet-equalled, wide-screen blockbuster
That grew more and more muddled
After a spectacular opening shot.
The pace, even for the most patient
Killingly slow despite the promise
Of a show-stopping, eye-popping ending:
The sudden shrivelling of the whole
To its teensy starting point, erasing all –
Including this bag of popcorn we are sharing.

Yes, an intriguing but finally irritating
Puzzle with no answer forthcoming tonight
From the large cast of stars and galaxies
In what may be called a prodigious
Expenditure of time, money and talent.
‘Let’s get the fuck out of here,’ I said
Just as her upraised eyes grew moist
And she confided to me, much too loudly,
‘I have never seen anything so beautiful.’

My Turn to Confess

A dog trying to write a poem on why he barks,
That’s me, dear reader!
They were about to kick me out of the library
But I warned them,
My master is invisible and all-powerful.
Still, they kept dragging me out by the tail.

In the park the birds spoke freely of their own vexations.
On a bench, I saw an old woman
Cutting her white curly hair with imaginary scissors
While staring into a small pocket mirror.

I didn’t say anything then,
But that night I lay slumped on the floor,
Chewing on a pencil,
Sighing from time to time,
Growling, too, at something
I could not bring myself to name.

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