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Index: Poetry & Fiction

from ‘Silent Highway’.

From ‘Silent Highway': For ancient Britons, if they could be found,
For bird-watchers, for birds, for water-violets…
He liked to talk to herons, being tall,
And waded here, and further up, at Brentford
Composing poems as he strode or strove…

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The poet and the dictionary.

Alan Wall: ‘Geoffrey Hill’s poetic career has been mediated through his engagement with the dictionary. And that dictionary is first and foremost the OED. There is no greater dictionary in the world, and its making constitutes one of the great intellectual events of the twentieth century, though it started life in the nineteenth. There had never been anything like this before. Now the language itself has become the documented labyrinth of its own manifold meanings. Now history can be traced uttering itself thus and thus in one mutating word after another. The thought of a poet writing in English who would not grow excited turning the pages of the OED, or clicking on the electronic version, is so dismal that one wishes such a personage an even smaller readership than modern poets normally manage to acquire.’

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from ‘Teint’.

JK Huysmans: ‘Like many country girls, the Bièvre fell prey, upon her arrival in Paris, to the industrial snares of touts; despoiled of her dresses of grass and adornments of trees, she had to set to work immediately and wear herself out with the terrible chores demanded of her. Surrounded by rough merchants who pass her daily, but, by common agreement, imprison her in turn the length of her banks, she has become a tannery worker, and, day and night, she washes the filth from stripped skins, soaks the spare fleeces and raw leather, suffers the grip of alum, the bite of lime and caustic.’

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Children of war in Palestine.

Manash Bhattacharjee: ‘In a battered street
Little Yasin lies dead with flag in hand
The Rabbi’s cheek is a moist wall’

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‘Recessional’ and other new poems.

Hoyt Rogers; Day can’t die, eyes / never close. But isn’t that the courage of language? To blind / by seeing, to deafen by saying, to divorce the world for words.

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Textuality.

Alan Wall: Tyndale ‘was on the side of the humble interpreters of the Bible’s teaching, against those who thought themselves supreme authorities. Hence his famous statement: ‘If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou dost.’ This was addressed to a theological opponent, one said to be learned, whose position in society was somewhat grander than following a plough. We all have the right to midrash; to that questioning of the original scripture, as long as it is driven by a fierce will to get to the truth. Pushed on by the ploughman’s shoulder.’

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‘The Art of Writing’ and other poems.

Alan Wall: ‘Charlemagne at forty taught himself to read
but never mastered writing:
all that fiddle and faff.
Carolingian script for his eye not his fingers.’

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Grandeur.

Andrew Jordan: ‘Mars as ever Mars must be; beyond shame, the warrior silent for years,
unresolved, his thoughts given as goods through passions imposed—
for the losses of gay kynges heaped, dishonoured pale, modern politics
within which poets variously comply, their material adjusted to please;
and all for a thumbs up on Facebook!’

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In close formation.

Peter Dent: ‘ my favourite side-

slip was the one about Thrace – whose music
not to mention its early poetry was the first port
of call for heavies supposing you needed same
(in those days you’d be considered odd if you
didn’t subsidiary clauses being brought in

overnight)…’

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Links from a forgotten chain.

Harry Guest: ‘…high language may
conceal discrepancies when colours leave,
shapes alter, former echoes don’t
even disturb the cobwebs…’

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‘After Argos…’

Kelvin Corcoran: So what are we doing now Potnia?
Do you see them at the foot of the hill
surrounding us, a flood, do you see them
through our transparent walls?

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Poems from ‘Changing’.

C’est la vie, mort de la Mort! –
and that was even finer than fine.
Poetry is a criticism of death

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Three poems by Anthony Costello

Anthony Costello (from ‘The Antique Hunter’): cabinets of Glost earthenware
and fine bone china,
recognizing a Stradivarius or 1st
of Ulysses when I see one

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Jon Thompson: Three new poems.

BIG WEATHER Low hum or high winds, hard to say. Outsideness looks cinematic, the world putting on airs with winter-stripped trees, gospel-swaying back & forth outside old-fashioned paned glass. Winter-sharp branches wave wildly, sough a song not their own. Wrens try out a call & response in the emptiness between boughs then wing away. What […]

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Three poems by Osip Mandelstam.

Osip Mandelstam: ‘Watch me grow stronger, then blind,
as I follow these humble roots.
What a park! My eyes come alive
now thunder is passing through.’

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