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was ten years out . tne above quotation comes from a sequence of poems set in Paris. with the poet meditating on horrors past and present. personal and global. But still the grim humour breaks through — ‘At the end ofthe world there will be cats/crouched like police-cars in the rubble.‘ (Jim Glen)
W- POETS’ POURRI
I The Government at the Tongue Seamus Heaney (Faber £12.95) Seamus the Famous brings between boards his l98(iT.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures and ‘Other Critical Writings’. In over a dozen essays he looks analytically and personally at poets like Mandelstam. Holub.
Auden. Kavanagh. and Plath. and is.
as ever. illuminating and thought provoking. Underlying the exegesis is what he calls ‘the tension between life and art‘. experienced particularly on an evening in Belfast when he was to record poems with the singer. David Hammond. There were explosions in the street and the sirens of ambulances and in ‘that cast-down moment . . . a refusal to sing.’
I The Joy of Bad Verse Nicholas '1‘. Parsons (Collins £12.95) All poets produce bad poems at sometime or other but few scale the dreadful heights of those exposed by the Vicar of Much-Awfulness. This is the country where McGonagall is king but if you're jaded by the silvery Tay try Joseph Gwyer of Penge (‘England's McGonagall‘) on the humble spud: ‘Many lasses know home duties well. choose your wife from such/ Can cook and roast a joint. POTATOES. or anything they touch.‘ Turns to mash in your mouth. doesn‘t it.
I Collected Poems Norman MacCaig (Chatto £6.95) At last in paperback. the luxury of almost 400 pages of MacCaig‘s poems. each one polished with his dry wit and precise words: ‘a moon fat as a butterball‘ and ‘moths washed-blue. flutter their Kleenex wings'. A book like a lucky bag. to go on dipping into endlessly. (Elizabeth Burns)
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I BYTOI‘I'S 'lra BIS All n Massie (Sidgwick & Jackson £14.95) Typically trenchant. droll and engaging account ofthe sexually ambidextrous Lord‘s wanderings around Europe. No new information but the old story's served up with gusto.
I In A Marine Light: Selected Poems Raymond Carver (Picador £3.95) First collection of the noted short story writer‘s poems to be published outside the US.
I A Serious Character: The Lite ot Ezra Pound Ilumphrey Carpenter (Faber £20) How seriously should we take Ezra Pound'.’ Humphrey Carpenter takes him seriously enough to write lllllll nuts and bolts pages on him and still his genius remains elusive. The first punk poet seems to have been not over- intelligent and desultory in his reading (‘lt is not necessary to read everything in order to speak intelligently ofit.‘ he once told William Carlos Williams) but his inﬂuence on his peers — in particular TS. Eliot — is underlined by Carpenter. who also makes much
'ado about his supposed madness.
finding him sane.
I An East End Anthology Edited and Introduced by James Kelman (Clydeside Press) Poems. cartoons. stories and photographs emanating from the East End Writers’ (iroup bolstered by a pugnacious intro by Jim Kelman. The language is energetic and direct. often comic. and the general standard is high. It is on sale in better Glasgow bookshops or direct from the Group who currently meet weekly at the Dolphin Centre. Bridgeton.
I Poetry Map of Edinburgh (Scottish Poetry Library) Tartan plaque guide ﬂushing out dead poets’ haunts and homes. Some inexplicable landmarks are pinpointed — eg MacSween‘s the butcher‘s. the International Stationers in the High Street: some information is wrong (Stevenson never ‘practised‘ as an advocate in Edinburgh) and Sassoon and Owen's stay at (Traiglockart Hospital (now engulfed by Napier College) during the First World War ought to have been acknowledged. as should many other poets who have resided in Edinburgh. ‘
Chalmers. FoodJulie Morrice. Marina
SKINNER rs THE STORY
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'RlCHARD DREW PUBLlSHll‘lO
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Wednesday l3th July IMRAN KHAN — author ofA llRound View 1—2pm AUTHOR EVENING Friday 22nd .Iuly JAMES 'I‘RUSCOTT — author ofl’rivate Gardens of Scotland Illustrated talk with slides
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The List 24 June — 7.luly I988 59