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Index: Commentary on Art and Literature

What Is Poetry?

Death keeps — an indifferent host — this house of call, whose sign-board wears no boast save Beds for All. —Sylvia Townsend Warren, ‘East London Cemetery’ And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, Till they rise again, as […]

Civilizing, Selling, and T. S. Eliot Curled Up Behind the Encyclopædia Britannica

By G. KIM BLANK. The only book, except the Bible, which has followed the Anglo-Saxon around the world. —ad for Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 The New Encyclopædia Britannica is a complete and modern exposition of thought, learning and achievement to 1910, a vivid representation of the world’s activities, so arranged and classified as to afford a […]

Master Singer.

Chronicler, Novelist, Storyteller By CONOR ROBIN MADIGAN.   N EXHAUSTIVE PUBLISHING of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s children’s stories during his lifetime and well after — beginning with Zletah The Goat in 1966 and ending in 2015 with The Parakeet Named Dreidel — has made the novels and work preceding the juvenilia more interesting and powerful. But […]

A clutch of ingenious authors.

A Fortnightly Review Four Times EightyOne: Bespoke Stories by Michelene Wandor. Odd Volumes | 978-0999136591 | £15.95 ◊ Florilegia by Annabel Dover. MOIST Books | 978-1913430047 | £9.45 ◊ Abécédaire by Sharon Kivland. MOIST Books | 978-1-913430-10-8 | £11.95   By ANTHONY HOWELL. aving “found my stride” in the seventies, I am always interested in […]

At Risk of Interment.

W.G. Sebald in Terezin and Breendonk.     By Will Stone. I don’t think you can focus on the horror of the Holocaust. It’s like the head of the Medusa. You carry it with you in a sack, but if you looked at it, you’d be petrified. —W.G. Sebald     Preface he two locations […]

Samuel Alexander on Beauty.

Tronn Overend: ‘Samuel Alexander’s analysis of values is an objective basis to challenge the trajectory modern art has taken this century. From his understanding, it appears the notion of beauty has been lost.’

The world we live in.

Alan Wall: ‘he Plague is no longer a historical item, safely bracketed away with things that no longer happen. All those buboes. It is back on our streets, in our homes, in our lungs.’

Rhyme as Rhythm.

Adam Piette: Rhyming beat-resolution invites us to lay at least subsidiary stress on the ‘al’ of ‘madrigal’ too with the pull of end-rhyme habit (bull-madrigal) and the gravitational force of the æ-repetitions in particular (brag-descant-madrigal).’

Breaks Broken: Some Recent Poetry.

John Wilkinson: ‘Here I consider line-breaks or what might pass for line-breaks in recent work by two prominent contemporary poets, one American and one British, revealing a strange affinity in their different kinds of line-breaks.’ diminution into insignificance.

Models.

Anthony Rudolf: ‘Posing for months on end for one statuette, with great pride and high hopes that it would be completed and cast and displayed in a glass case, Pauline watched the artist desperately try to improve and complete it. No such luck.’

Volume Five.

Rev. Andrew Louth: ‘The completion of the project of translating the Philokalia is an end that is also a beginning. Now we have in English a complete translation of the Philokalia.’

Translating fire into poetry.

Jaime Robles: ‘I remember being just 19 and walking along the beach near the college campus in Goleta, ash from a fire a hundred miles away falling like snow from the dull looking sky.’

Birthing the Minotaur.

Alan Wall: ‘The price of civilization is our emotional crippledom. You want the Taj Mahal, Michaelangelo, aeroplanes? Then go buy yourself a mental walking-stick.’

In Defence of Stress.

John Wilkinson: ‘The apogee of academic instruction in close reading and literary history, was attained at a brief moment in the 1950s and 1960s, remaining essential to a reaction in subsequent deconstructive theory. Reliance on such a literary culture and its associated skills has become anachronistic.’

A Life in Poetry: Peter Robinson.

Peter Robinson:’I’m a northerner, but not a ‘proud’ or ‘professional’ one. Liverpool, where my mother still lives, as do two of my dearest friends, is the only place I can call my hometown.’