Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Re-thinking History” by Keith Jenkins

This is a short book bought on impulse at the wonderful bookshop in Wemyss Bay station, the ferry port for Bute, on the south side of the Clyde estuary down Glasgow. I think at the time I’d just read Richard Evans’ In … Continue reading

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Poetry Review 104:1 Spring 2014

Highlights: Jan Wagner’s “evensong, lago di como” (translated by Eva Bourke): an excellent Martian-postcard poem: …the empty car ferry carries a last cargo of light across the water. Review of Philip Gross’ Later, which manages to describe his style in ways … Continue reading

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“‘My Dear Jim’, a biography of Walter Spradbery”, by John Spradbery

Walter Spradbery, artist and pacifist, founder of the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, was married to my great aunt Edna’s sister, the opera singer Dorothy Horsey, known musically as Dorothy d’Orsay. They had a house in Buckhurst Hill called the … Continue reading

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Swapping: divan and tribunal

Divan comes from the Persian “devan,” which originally meant “assembly of rulers,” but now means the padded platform upon which the leaders sit. Tribunal was a raised platform provided for magistrates’ seats, and now refers to the people sitting on … Continue reading

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“Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan

So far my McEwan reading has been: –The Comfort of Strangers (many years ago, at a friend’s house). A chilling novella with a gruesomely violent ending, but whose motivations are implausible –Saturday. Again tension, but this time much better handled … Continue reading

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“Homecoming” by Michael Morpurgo

A moving tale by the great man about his own childhood in Bradwell, Essex, and how the building of a nuclear power station destroyed a paradise, in particular the caravan-home of Miss Pettigrew. Much is made of the fact that … Continue reading

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Plato’s Symposium

As often with Plato there’s a layered entry: the party being related is remembered at second hand. This is important as it sets up doubt, makes us wonder what’s really going on here. The game the men decide to play … Continue reading

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“Notes in Advance” by William Glock

Born in 1908, William Glock became one of the most important and powerful people in British music[^1] in the second half of the 20th century. This autobiography was published in 1991; he died in 2000. In summary: – Christ’s Hospital … Continue reading

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Tellus, issue 5

Another of Ailsa Hunt’s excellent series of pamphlets publishing poetry about or inspired by the classical world. This contains some gems, in particular an excerpt from Timothy Chappell’s verbally-powerful translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (“and so the house receives back its … Continue reading

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“Deep Field” by Philip Gross

[See update, below] Philip Gross’ contribution to a Quaker discussion on ‘non—theism’ is amazing: he speaks fast, weaving his own poems into what he says (sometimes breaking into one with no pause), and succeeds in deepening any listener’s thoughts about that word … Continue reading

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