‘All is not dead’ originates from a lesser-known sonnet printed in Larkin’s Collected Poems, entitled ‘A slight relax of air where cold was’. The reason behind the poet’s refusal to print it in an individual collection is indicated by his comment in the margin of the manuscript version: ‘Look at Keats silly old fool’ (MS 6, 7.i.62). Despite Larkin’s harsh evaluation of its literary value when contrasted with a ‘master’ sonneteer, it deserves citing in full, since it illustrates both the critical debates that now surround his work, and my argument that he struggles with humanism in a post-war context
Philip Larkin, Humanism and Class
The Case of British Jewish Poetry
This article discusses a corpus of work which constitutes British Jewish poetry and stands as a paradigm of diasporic poetry. It focuses in particular on the work of Isaac Rosenberg and Jon Silkin, but also introduces my anthology of British Jewish poetry, Passionate Renewal: Jewish Poetry in Britain since 1945 (2001). Further, the article theorizes the components of diasporic poetry, comprising in effect a diasporic poetics. It shows how British Jewish diasporic poetry and diasporic poetics together suggest a diasporic poetic praxis. A poem entitled 'Another Expulsion of European Jews', which appeared in my collection Senseless Hours (2009), concludes the article as an example of such synthesizing praxis.
Jews and Poetry
Asked who has been Britain’s best-selling Jewish poet people might come up with Dannie Abse, or Elaine Feinstein, or, wondering if the question inferred long-dead poets, Amy Levy. None of these … she was born in Nottingham and she wrote poems about fairies. Remember the line ‘There are fairies at the bottom of our garden …’. Britain’s best-selling Jewish poet was the late Rose Fyleman, whose work still has a half-life on Internet sites about fairies. There was no particular Jewish content to her work which immediately begs the question as to what Jewish poetry, as opposed to poetry written by Jews, might be.
Linda E. Mitchell
Through the analysis of three important texts—Gerald of Wales's Topographia Hibernica, the poem known as both The Song of Dermot and the Earl and The Deeds of the Normans in Ireland, and the 1367 Statutes of Kilkenny—this article seeks to demonstrate that characterizations of the Irish by the English during the first centuries of conquest and settlement established the Irish as differently gendered from the English. This is shown through the use of terms that define the Irish as sexually, socially, and culturally deviant, as unmanly and emasculated, and as legally and culturally inferior even to English women.
Negative Dialectics in Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' and Ted Hughes's 'Hawk Roosting'
Within the critical debate surrounding Sylvia Plath's poetry, the chief bone of contention seems to be whether or not Plath's use of Holocaust imagery is in any sense justifiable. Seamus Heaney's summary remarks on 'Daddy' are typical of the line usually taken against Plath – Heaney writes: 'A poem like 'Daddy', however brilliant a tour de force it can be acknowledged to be, and however its violence and vindictiveness can be understood or excused in light of the poet's parental and marital relations, remains, nevertheless, so entangled in biographical circumstances and rampages so permissively in the history of other people's sorrows that it simply overdraws its rights to our sympathy.'
In his famous poem “Mending Wall” Robert Frost’s narrator builds, alongside his neighbour, a stone wall that divides their respective lands (Frost 1947: 47-8). The narrator can see this joint activity as no more than a “kind of out-door game” for, “There where it is we do not need the wall” and he wonders, “What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offence”. His taciturn neighbour can only repeat his own father’s thought that “Good fences make good neighbours”.
Catherine Byron, Adrian Caesar, Philip Callow, Barry Cole, George Dandoulakis, Angela Leighton, Clare MacDonald Shaw, John Mole, Tom Paulin, Peter Porter, Philip Ramp, Arnold Rattenbury, Maurice Rutherford, William Scammell, Matt Simpson, Mahendra Solanki, Anne Stevenson, Tim Thorne, John Tranter, Dimitris Tsaloumas, Gael Turnbull, and Hugh Underhill
St Thomas Aquinas in MacNeice’s House, September 23rd, 1957
In an Australian Garden
Red Wine and Yellow Sun
For a Cornet Player, Retired
The Altar of the Motherland (trans.: Andreas Kalvos)
Looking at Pictures
The Puppy of Heaven
The Island Market
More Friggers for John: 22: Convict Tokens 1815-1840; 23: Trench Art 1914-1918
Taking the Hexameter a Walk – a letter to John Lucas
From ‘The Riverside’
A Ballad for Apothecaries, Being a Poem to Honour the Memory of Nicholas Culpeper, Gent …
A is for Matthew ARNOLD, bringer of sweetness and light, upholder of the best that has been thought and said. (Notions much derided of late. All the more reason to defend them.) A poet-polemicist Oxford dandy turned Schools Inspector who didn’t just emit steam but suited action to word out in the big wide world. My favourite Victorian prophet, along with Mill, better company than Ruskin and bellicose Carlyle. Also for AL ALVAREZ, top gun of the sixties, who tried to shoot down English gentility. Good nose for a certain kind of poem, bad reasons for promoting it. Also for ACADEMIC. Pause. ‘Nuff said.
Shakespeare and the Canon
The literary canon is commonly thought of as ancient, accepted and agreed, and consistent between high and popular cultures. This article demonstrates the falsity of these assumptions, and argues that the canon is always provisional, contingent, iterable and overdetermined by multiple consequences of cultural struggle. Using definitions of canonicity from Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode and Pierre Bourdieu, the article shows how the canon is produced, consumed and reproduced. Picking up on Harold Bloom's use of a poem by Wallace Stevens, the article explores the impact of Arabic adaptations of Shakespeare on canon formation and canonicity.
Markku Lehmuskallio and Anastasia Lapsui in Siberia and the Circumpolar World
Starting with instructional films about Finnish forestry in the 1970s, Markku Lehmuskallio has taken his cinematic vision progressively northward. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Leh mus kallio started intensive work among the Nenets, ultimately collaborating with Anastasia Lapsui to make remarkable “film poems“ among northern peoples at the edges of the world. Perhaps most impressive of their extensive Giron Film productions are the awardwinning Seven Songs of the Tundra (2000) and Earth Evocation (2009). This review essay focuses on their methods of representation of northern, native peoples over the course of their filmmaking career.