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The Death of the Goddess

Posted by on 4 01 17 in Reviews | 3 comments

Knowing my interest in Indian literature, Professor Hogan has kindly sent me a copy of his long poem entitled The Death of the Goddess. (1) The author’s Preface explains why the poem was written – it’s had a long gestation – and an Introduction by Rachell Fell McDermont provides an apt summary of the story and its themes. Let me first say something about the style. As can be seen below, the verse is clear, exact and made more...

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Anthologies 4

Posted by on 11 12 16 in Poetry | 1 comment

I have been looking at Modern Poetry selected and edited by Maurice Wollman (The Scholar’s Library: Macmillan, 1939), an anthology in which some of the big names of Modernism start appearing  – W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Stephen Spender and W.B. Yeats. In general, however, whatever the claims of the Introduction, the anthology is not Modernist in tone, and the poems representing the six above are not perhaps what we’d choose today. W.H. Auden is represented...

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Anthologies 3

Posted by on 16 11 16 in Poetry | 2 comments

Poems in my next anthology are also arranged by theme, if a little vaguely, but there the similarity ends. Modern Poetry selected and edited by Maurice Wollman (The Scholar’s Library: Macmillan, 1939) is aimed at the academic market, and indeed my copy comes from a university library. The editor was the Senior English Master at the Barking Abbey School, and we can hear the schoolmaster’s sobriety in the Preface: The aim of this Anthology is to be representative of...

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Anthologies 2

Posted by on 27 10 16 in Poetry | 1 comment

Decades ago, when I had more time at my disposal, I would spend hours in that most dispiriting section of second-hand bookshops: the poetry shelves. How much loving care had been lavished on collections that remained just worthy items, neither really good nor really bad, but simply a monument to others’ hopes, expressions and ambitions. Readers of the last blog will know that I’m looking at ‘Verse of Our Day: An Anthology of Modern American and British Poetry’ edited...

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Poetry Anthologies

Posted by on 15 10 16 in Poetry | 0 comments

We often view past poetry through the spectacles of our current conceptions, and it’s therefore salutary – indeed enlightening – to see how previous generations saw matters. I’ve been reading some old anthologies purchased cheaply on line through Abebooks, and will spend the next few posts discussing what’s come to light. Here, to start with, is ‘Verse of Our Day: An Anthology of Modern American and British Poetry’ edited by Margery Gordon and Marie B. King, and published by...

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Hegel and the Romantic Movement

Posted by on 29 09 16 in Reviews | 0 comments

First I should apologize for the long interval from my last post, which has been spent in converting, rewriting and updating web-pages to free pdf ebooks: Verse Writing, Literary Theory, A Background to Critical Theory, amounting to a rather unbelievable half million words, all available from Ocaso Press at Now to the post. I have been reading Jerry Muller’s admirable book on the origins of capitalism, or rather how capitalism has been analyzed, defended and extended by generations...

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The Poetry of Academe

Posted by on 1 02 16 in Poetry | 3 comments

Through academic courses,  literary criticism, MFA programs and support for the small presses, the universities play a critical  role in today’s serious poetry. But what is it about academe that produces such indifferent poetry – generally mundane reflections on subjects that would not merit inclusion in a local newspaper? I’m not going to name offenders, but if the later selections in the Oxford Book of American Poetry {1} are anything to go by, the art form is now in...

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4 Poets in The Wolf Magazine

Posted by on 6 10 15 in Poetry | 3 comments

The Wolf Magazine is a forward-looking British magazine that publishes translations, criticism, book reviews, interviews and poetry that is difficult to categorize, but could be called commendably oblique to the usual viewpoints. Let me say more by commenting on Jonathan Morley’s On first looking into Cecily Jones’s Engendering Whiteness, which can be read at: I’d better start by explaining that the book Engendering Whiteness is an extended academic study comparing the positions of white women under colonialism in...

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