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Part of Your America

Kevin Okoth: Danez Smith and Jericho Brown, 19 November 2020

Homie 
by Danez Smith.
Chatto, 96 pp., £10.99, February, 978 1 78474 305 5
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The Tradition 
by Jericho Brown.
Picador, 72 pp., £10.99, August 2019, 978 1 5290 2047 2
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... experience without it becoming a form of competitive self-abasement. (In his poem ‘Cakewalk’, Jericho Brown writes: ‘My man swears his HIV better than mine, that his has in it a little gold, something he can spend if he ever gets old.’)In ‘the flower who bloomed thru the fence in grandmama’s yard’, Smith reaches further into the complicated ...

At the White Cube

Peter Campbell: Anselm Kiefer, 22 February 2007

... across the diagonal of the room, is topped with the remnants of a crown of leaves, now crisp and brown, and terminates with a root-bole, round and heavy, like the knob of a club. The paintings resemble sheets from a herbarium where specimens – palm leaves, but other plants as well – have been mounted by a deranged botanist who has attacked them with ...

Limits of Civility

Glen Newey: Walls, 17 March 2011

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty 
by Wendy Brown.
Zone, 167 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 1 935408 08 6
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... for one whose kingdom was not of this world. In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, Wendy Brown notes that walls symbolise the will to closure. As inherited tracts of masonry, they recall bygone enmities, but also mark the limits of civility. Yet the revealed will to close down politics, being itself political, is self-defeating. Antigone in ...

Diary

Anatol Lieven: In Kabul, 4 April 2002

... they lie in ruins, you can’t be sure whether you are looking at Afghanistan in 2002 AD, or Jericho in 2002 BC – except that Jericho was not defended by heavy machine-guns. Three things emerge from talking to the forts’ defenders from the former Northern Alliance, especially the Panjshiris. Two are ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... citadel.In her shuttered eyes,I glimpse the climbing walls,No trumpet of mine will bring down her Jericho. Her mobile pings and her thumbs tap out retorts.She smiles into her phone,But facing me the portcullis slams shut.My storming love bounces back,From her stony stare.There’s no need to trouble ourselves over whether the pencil sketches and the poetry ...

Bonté Gracieuse!

Mary Beard: Astérix Redux, 21 February 2002

Asterix and the Actress 
by Albert Uderzo, translated by Anthea Bell.
Orion, 48 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7528 4657 4
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... in 1965, was named in his honour (the US later matched this with spaceships called Charlie Brown and Snoopy). There was also, predictably, a more mundane range of Astérix spin-offs, from mustard to washing powder, that flooded the French market in the 1960s and 1970s. The story goes that Goscinny’s partner, Albert Uderzo, once saw three ...

Dry Lands

Rebecca Solnit: The Water Problem, 3 December 2009

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water in the West 
by James Lawrence Powell.
California, 283 pp., £19.95, January 2010, 978 0 520 25477 0
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... and reached the Colorado River, far to its east. T.S. Eliot’s Mississippi was a ‘strong brown god’: the Colorado River is more like a ruddy writhing serpent. Or was, since the snake has now been chopped into segments by dams, notably by Glen Canyon Dam above the Grand Canyon, and Hoover Dam south of Vegas, each with a gigantic reservoir backed up ...

Lost between War and Peace

Edward Said, 5 September 1996

... by all the males of my family), were clogged with Christian tourists, carrying dreadful little brown crosses in their hands with a look of rapt vacancy, wandering everywhere, oblivious to the 20th-century conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. As the Holy Land’s nerve centre, and the likeliest source of future unrest, Jerusalem has never been ...

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