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Staggering

Frank Kermode, 2 November 1995

Roy Fuller: Writer and Society 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £25, September 1995, 1 85754 133 2
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... to them’. That sentence, with its contrived inversions, has a very characteristic stagger – Neil Powell prefers to talk about a style ‘slightly skewed’. In the same volume of his autobiography, Vamp till Ready, Fuller discusses a poem in which he had spoken of ‘the penis lighthouse ... Aloof with rolling eye’; he didn’t like the ...

What became of Modernism?

C.K. Stead, 1 May 1980

Five American Poets 
by John Matthias, introduced by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £3.25, November 1979, 0 85635 259 4
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The New Australian Poetry 
edited by John Tranter.
Makar Press, 330 pp., £6.50, November 1979
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Carpenters of Light 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 154 pp., £6.95, November 1979, 0 85635 305 1
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Mirabell: Books of Number 
by James Merrill.
Oxford, 182 pp., £3.25, June 1979, 0 19 211892 7
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The Book of the Body 
by Frank Bidart.
Faber, 44 pp., £4.50, October 1979, 0 374 11549 4
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Skull of Adam 
by Stanley Moss.
Anvil, 67 pp., £2.50, May 1979, 0 85646 041 9
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Poems 1928-1978 
by Stanley Kunitz.
Secker, 249 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 436 23932 9
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... conjunction, but there is too much in Tranter’s anthology that is no more than verbal gesture. Neil Powell’s Carpenters of Light is probably a better book than I am prepared to admit. Its limits (academic prissiness apart) are the limits of his understanding of Modernism. He uses the term frequently but never in such a way as to make me feel he has ...

Ancient Orthodoxies

C.K. Stead, 23 May 1991

Antidotes 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £6.95, March 1991, 0 85635 908 4
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Dog Fox Field 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 103 pp., £6.95, February 1991, 0 85635 950 5
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True Colours 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 102 pp., £6.95, March 1991, 0 85635 910 6
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Eating strawberries in the Necropolis 
by Michael Hulse.
Harvill, 63 pp., £5.95, March 1991, 0 00 272076 0
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... remarkable, but the way he has worked in isolation, not at the role of the poet, but at the craft. Neil Powell’s cover offers the title, True Colours, red on black, and a photograph of a shirtless young man, nipples to crotch, head and legs out of the picture, his Lee Cooper jeans undone and hanging well below the navel. The blurb recommends the ...

Heat in a Mild Climate

James Wood: Baron Britain of Aldeburgh, 19 December 2013

Benjamin Britten: A Life in the 20th Century 
by Paul Kildea.
Allen Lane, 635 pp., £30, January 2013, 978 1 84614 232 1
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Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music 
by Neil Powell.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 09 193123 0
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... as the cast processes out of the church); a homespun cacophony.Two biographies, by Paul Kildea and Neil Powell, intelligently appraise this official and unofficial Britten, and are rich with contradiction. Britten was quietly radical and quietly conservative. He was a joiner and a separatist: he lived most of his life in Suffolk, well away from ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: David Davis v. Miss Great Britain, 3 July 2008

... told by eager citizen bloggers that there were clear precedents – George Lansbury in 1912, Enoch Powell in 1958 – and that Davis was an incarnation of that forgotten thing: the politician with principles, a man standing up for his beliefs. Never mind that, as it transpired, he would be standing up against Miss Great Britain, campaigning on behalf of ...

Permissiveness

Paul Addison, 23 January 1986

The Writing on the wall: Britain in the Seventies 
by Phillip Whitehead.
Joseph, 438 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 7181 2471 5
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... to be justified as an instalment in the class struggle. If dockers marched in support of Enoch Powell, they were held to be suffering from false consciousness. But if they went on strike they were heroes of labour. The fact that flying pickets or the scramble for benefits had little or nothing to do with a passion for social justice was seldom appreciated ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... the Brixton riots: at a lunch party in nearby Stockwell, the firmest of the true believers, Jane Powell, is maintaining that a legal amnesty should have been given to all those arrested in the street fighting. Her friends call her Saint Jane: she is a lawyer who works for a law centre, a hard-working Labour councillor, regularly insulted by her Haughey-like ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... protagonists of the 1975 referendum – such as the former Europhiles David Owen and Nigel Lawson; Neil Kinnock, a prominent Labour anti in 1975; or Alex Salmond, then a youthful SNP anti-Marketeer – found themselves on the other side of the debate from their former selves. The exception was Jim Sillars. The outspoken Labour anti of 1975 re-emerged in 2016 ...

Diary

Tam Dalyell: Yesterday’s News, 18 September 1986

... over Westlands were attributed to those civil servants such as Mr Bernard Ingham and Mr Charles Powell whom Mrs Thatcher sees many times each day. Isn’t this something we should be concerned about? Three decades after Crichel Down, however, all the House of Commons and the country seem to do is to shrug its collective shoulders. Part of the explanation is ...

Tam, Dick and Harold

Ian Aitken, 26 October 1989

Dick Crossman: A Portrait 
by Tam Dalyell.
Weidenfeld, 253 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79670 4
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... academic reviewer suggested in these pages that one of the troubles with the Labour Party under Neil Kinnock’s leadership was that it was no longer the kind of party which attracted the loyalty and service of Oxbridge intellectuals. In his view, this was a serious flaw, perhaps even a fatal one. There is, of course, something in the charge. For all his ...

Sucking up

Michael Rogin, 12 May 1994

Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War 
by John MacArthur.
California, 274 pp., £10, January 1994, 0 520 08398 9
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Live from the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad – 35 Years in the World’s War Zones 
by Peter Arnett.
Bloomsbury, 463 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 7475 1680 4
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... the image of war. That effort, failing in Vietnam, produced the news reporter as American hero – Neil Sheehan, David Halberstam, Seymour Hersch, Jonathan Schell, Peter Arnett. They reported not only the war the government did not want its citizens to see, but also the government efforts to invent a war for domestic consumption. ‘Part of the Vietnamese ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... there was little they could do about it. Having discovered what her most trusted adviser, Charles Powell, called somewhat euphemistically their ‘ploy’, she moved Howe away from the Foreign Office to become leader of the House of Commons, and a few months later Lawson resigned. The ostensible reason was his inability to work with Alan Walters, Thatcher’s ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... skimming low over the tops and it feels like a scene from the 1940s. It could be a Michael Powell film or a page from the diaries of Denton Welch. This isn’t wholly imagination either, as it turns out that there was a camp here during the war for American airborne troops, which makes the survival of these wonderfully elaborate pillars, still here ...

Ideologues

Peter Pulzer, 20 February 1986

The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... coherent syndrome call it populist authoritarianism, and date its rise from the emergence of Enoch Powell as a national hero after his ‘river of blood’ speech in 1968. I wonder whether it is all as simple as that. The question is not whether there is a logical connection between these attitudes, libertarian in economic and repressive in constitutional ...

Why did it end so badly?

Ross McKibbin: Thatcher, 18 March 2004

Margaret Thatcher. Vol. II: The Iron Lady 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 913 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 224 06156 9
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... absorbing discussion of these crises and it was fortunate for her that in the Westland affair Neil Kinnock fluffed his opportunities and that it was, in any case, probably too complicated and arcane an issue for the electorate to master. 5. Campbell’s analysis of her attitudes to Europe and the United States (attitudes not unrelated to the secret ...

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