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The 24,000 Islands of Stockholm

Paul Durcan, 9 August 2001

... How you do go on About the politics Of Stockholm – About how too controlled, Too predictable Are the politics of Stockholm; How the politics of Stockholm Are like the citizens of Stockholm, Too careful, too clean. On, on, you go About the Swedish Academy; How the waters are awash With bobbing condoms. I doubt – but keep The thought to myself – That condoms ‘bob’, Whatever their content Or lack of content ...

The King of Cats

Paul Durcan, 24 April 1997

... chuckle Halfway between a revelation and a peep. Goodbye, Francis – see you soon See you soon, Paul – you cry out. In my car at your gate I perch in the dark Under the orange streetlight a gnat in an Astra Facing downhill to The Great Wall of China – Your local corner takeaway – and the Scots pines High above the Central Mental Hospital kremlin ...

Jihad

James Wood, 5 August 1993

TheNew Poetry 
edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £25, May 1993, 1 85224 244 2
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Who Whispered Near Me 
by Killarney Clary.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1993, 1 85224 149 7
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Sunset Grill 
by Anne Rouse.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, March 1993, 1 85224 219 1
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Half Moon Bay 
by Paul Mills.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, February 1993, 9781857540000
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Shoah 
by Harry Smart.
Faber, 74 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16793 4
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The Autonomous Region 
by Kathleen Jamie.
Bloodaxe, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1993, 9781852241735
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Collected Poems 
by F.T. Prince.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £25, March 1993, 1 85754 030 1
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Stirring Stuff 
by Selwyn Pritchard.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 145 pp., £8.99, April 1993, 9781856193085
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News from the Brighton Front 
by Nicki Jackowska.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 86 pp., £7.99, April 1993, 1 85619 306 3
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Translations from the Natural World 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 67 pp., £6.95, March 1993, 1 85754 005 0
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... in one respect, though: something is happening in recent British and Irish poetry. Poets like Paul Durcan, Ian McMillan and Peter Didsbury (all well represented here) are pushing the form towards performance and gaudy narrative. Many of the poets are writing long, stringy lines reminiscent of the American poet C.K. Williams, or having cartoonish fun ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... works written by men. Not that poems about parents, for instance, can’t also be love poems, as Paul Durcan’s Daddy, Daddy shows. Faced with the problem that so many poets of recent years have written movingly about their fathers – Tony Harrison, Craig Raine, Hugo Williams, Paul Muldoon, Michael Hofmann ...

Belfast Diary

Edna Longley: In Belfast , 9 January 1992

... to make reader-reception – or the most effective propaganda? – our arbiter of war. Shades of Paul de Man, perhaps. It would, for instance, be both a pity and a lie if another Irish anthology. Troubled Times: ‘Fortnight’ Magazine and the Troubles in Northern Ireland I970-91,† had left out ‘what really happened’: its bleak ‘Chronology of Events ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... of two hands, and here they are: Kavanagh, MacNeice, Kinsella, Montague, Heaney, Longley, Mahon, Durcan, Paulin, McGuckian. No Muldoon, we notice straight away, which is understandable, if regrettable. Muldoon is famous for his oblique approach to things, and we see this feeling for indirection at work in the prologue to Contemporary Irish Poetry – not a ...

Desperate Responses

Richard Hyman, 5 April 1984

Industry, Unions and Government: Twenty-One Years of NEDC 
by Keith Middlemas.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, January 1984, 0 333 35121 5
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Strikes in Post-War Britain: A Study of Stoppages of Work Due to Industrial Disputes, 1946-73 
by J.W. Durcan, W.E.J. McCarthy and G.P. Redman.
Allen and Unwin, 448 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 04 331093 1
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Picketing: Industrial Disputes, Tactics and the Law 
by Peggy Kahn, Norman Lewis, Rowland Livock and Paul Wiles.
Routledge, 223 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9534 1
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... factor, with a mere three pages of the conclusion lamely attempting to consider their interaction. Durcan, McCarthy and Redman are enthused mainly by the task of testing the thesis of the Donovan Commission of 1965-8 (of which McCarthy was Research Director): that strikes were largely a reflection of fragmented negotiating procedures, and in particular of ...

Erasures

Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... in the town in 1946. I knew some of these people: Dan Bolger, for example, whose grandfather, Paul, had donated money in 1846. Dan Bolger had a shop in the town. It was hard to think of him, or any of these people, having grandparents who knew ‘bitter hunger, starvation and death’. Most of them had inherited property and exuded a certain ...

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