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In Memory of Dr Jacqueline Kirk (1968-2008)

Charlotte Hussey

Poem by Charlotte Hussey

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Mohamed Assaf and Kate Clanchy

These poems were not, as their elegiac, melancholic tone seems to imply, written by a 60-something exile remembering his childhood, but by a small Syrian boy with a grubby collar and a large football, named Mohamed Assaf. He is not an easy child: he

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Tim Cresswell

A poem by Tim Cresswell

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“Something Good Distracts Us from the Bad”

Girls Cultivating Disruption

Crystal Leigh Endsley

, used her poem to inform us that desire and violence co-exist where she comes from because “down here, we will kiss and then kill you” (Fieldnotes, April 2016). Clarsey complicates the controlling narrative with more context in her following spoken line

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Lolita Speaks

Disrupting Nabokov’s “Aesthetic Bliss”

Michele Meek

child incest victim. In this article, I examine several revisionary texts that present Lolita’s voice as a first person narrator, such as Kim Morrissey’s Poems for Men Who Dream of Lolita (1992) ; Pia Pera’s Lo’s Diary (published in Italian in 1995

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Theophilus Kwek

All titles (in bold), and some lines in the poem are taken directly from the Flash Report of the OHCHR’s Mission to Bangladesh, ‘Interviews with Rohingyas Fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016’, published on 3 February, 2017 and available at

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After our Winter 2013 special issue, which contained 17 articles focusing intently on all (or almost all) aspects of the family in Israel, we have changed lenses and are presenting quite a bit of variety in this issue. We start off with Efrat Ben-Ze’ev’s provocative article “Hidden Scripts: The Social Evolution of Alterman’s ‘Don’t You Give Them Guns,’” which investigates the transformation in meaning of that single phrase in Israeli society as a whole, but particularly the poem’s significance in the annual commemoration ceremony held by a specific Palmach unit. It is a fascinating exploration of meaning using the tools of an anthropologist.

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Questioning Shakespeare

William Leahy

To some extent, the title of this edition of Critical Survey, ‘Questioning Shakespeare’, could be regarded as a little misleading in the sense that the objective of the edition is not to question events in the plays and poems themselves, but rather to question and challenge the conventional Shakespearean critical tradition. It would therefore, perhaps, be more accurate to entitle it ‘Questioning “Shakespeare”’; the quotation marks signaling that it is the ‘institution’ of Shakespeare, with all the historical and cultural resonances such a term suggests, rather than the individual man which is the primary focus throughout. It is the ideological trajectory of this institution which is the essential issue being put in question, though this of necessity requires a close and detailed analysis of some of the plays and poems.

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In Memoriam

Robin Skelton (1925–1997)

Dennis Brown

In the past few years a number of poets who were also selfless facilitators of poetry have died. George Macbeth and Eric Mottram in particular spring to mind. However, it is appropriate for this particular issue of Critical Survey to memorialise the author of Poetry, in the ‘Teach Yourself Books’ series (1963), and editor of the Penguin anthologies of 1930s and 1940s poetry. There was a time when every other issue of Critical Quarterly seemed to include poems by Robin Skelton. Robin, like Tony Harrison more recently, liked to define himself simply as ‘Poet’ (though he was a superb critic too). But he also had a missionary vision of a poetic Everyperson.

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John Lucas – A Melianthropy Man

Peter Widdowson

Since the word ‘melianthropy’ does not exist, I have invented it as my small tribute to John: it means the capacity for making people’s lives better and fuller. Ayear ago, having sent out innumerable letters of invitation to contribute to the present ‘special issue’ of Critical Survey in honour of John Lucas, his many friends responded with such speed and enthusiasm, and with such wonderful things to say about him-whowas- to-be-honoured, that I thought of scrapping the original idea of publishing essays, poems and reminiscences and simply printing the letters themselves instead. All solicited were ‘honoured’ or ‘flattered’ to be asked, but many added more: ‘a close friend and someone who has offered so much to so many of us, both in literature and in life’; ‘as well as being a fine poet and deep-searching author, John is one of the most generous-spirited men I’ve ever known, and it is not surprising that he has such a very wide circle of friends drawn from his many interests and his work’; ‘John is not only a very close friend but the most generous man I am ever likely to meet. I could never begin to repay his goodness to me’; ‘John deserves only the very best’; ‘John is among those whose friendship I most value and whose work I most highly regard. A very remarkable man – how does he do it? – and loyal and heartening friend’; yet another refers to ‘his and Pauline’s warm hospitality and infectious enthusiasms’. And so on and so forth – but all are clearly meant. For me, as guest-editor of this issue – itself an honour and a pleasure – the true index of the depth of affection and regard John inspires has been the fact that 98% of all the contributions were on my desk by the copy-date – an unheard-of thing!