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On the white strand

Denis Donoghue, 4 April 1991

The Selected Writings of Jack B. Yeats 
edited by Robin Skelton.
Deutsch, 246 pp., £12.99, March 1991, 0 233 98646 4
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... Seas in 1901. And novels, of which The Amaranthers (1936) is the best. But it is hard to see how Robin Skelton’s claim for JBY as a writer could be sustained. When the whole of his writing becomes available, Skelton says, ‘he will be recognised as being one of the most original and important of 20th-century ...

Rembrandt and Synge and Molly

Denis Donoghue, 1 December 1983

The Collected Letters of John Millington Synge. Vol. I: 1871-1907 
edited by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 385 pp., £30, August 1983, 0 19 812678 6
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... have also appeared in Professor Saddlemyer’s contribution to Irish Renaissance, edited by Robin Skelton and David Clark (Dolmen Press, 1965), but I suppose that volume is long out of print. So it is good to have all this material brought together, splendidly elucidated by Professor Saddlemyer’s notes. The new volume also incorporates the ...

Writing the Night

Hugh Haughton, 25 January 1996

Selected Poems 
by David Gascoyne.
Enitharmon, 253 pp., £8.95, November 1994, 1 870612 34 5
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... Gascoyne’s new Selected Poems is much fuller than the first of his Collected Poems undertaken by Robin Skelton in 1965, but like his second Collected of 1988, it draws almost entirely on work of the same period, 1932-50, the lifespan of his poetic career. Despite the late Collecteds and the rediscovery and republication from 1978 onwards of his diaries ...


Helen Cooper: The maverick poetry of John Skelton, 14 December 2006

John Skelton and Poetic Authority: Defining the Liberty to Speak 
by Jane Griffiths.
Oxford, 213 pp., £50, February 2006, 9780199273607
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... John Skelton should be one of the great figures of English poetry. He is widely regarded as the most significant poet in the 130 years between the death of Chaucer and the flourishing of Thomas Wyatt; but it has to be said that the competition for the top ranking south of the Scottish border is not very fierce, and until the 1930s such a judgment would have struck most people as bizarre ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham, 4 October 2001

The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... It’s an ironic business.’ The idea of ‘success’ was ludicrous to him, as he wrote to Robin Skelton: ‘There is the silence before one just as difficult to disturb significantly as before. What one has learned is inadequate against the new silence presented. WOW!’ It followed that Graham was a harsh critic, impatient of ‘the temptation ...

Adjusting the Mechanism

Colin Burrow: Robert Graves, 11 October 2018

Robert Graves: From a Great War Poet to ‘Goodbye to All That’, 1895-1929 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 461 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 4729 2914 3
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The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose 
by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
Seven Stories, 613 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 60980 733 7
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... well-loved pool,/By Fox’s Dingle’. The shop didn’t thrive: Graves claimed that he ran it on Robin Hood principles, overcharging the wealthy literati of Boars Hill in order to subsidise the poorer inhabitants of neighbouring Wootton. When it went bust Graves and Nancy lost £300 they did not have. Graves’s mother, who came from the wealthy German von ...

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