Cuba six decades later

Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 Max Hastings, William Collins, September 2022, 576 pages, £30 KEN BELL recalls the Cold War’s most dangerous moment 2022 has been the sixtieth anniversary year of the Cuban Missile Crisis so a lot has been written about the event, with Max Hastings’ Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 being…

Overlooked Orpheans

STUART MILLSON enjoys some neglected gems of British music Why does the spiritual toll of the Great War seem to have been harsher for Britain than for any of the other European combatants, asks organist, scholar, music-writer Robert James Stove, in commentary for a booklet which accompanies a new CD on the Australian Ars Organi…

“Once upon a time I was a poet”

Basil Bunting. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons licence Letters of Basil Bunting Selected and edited by Alex Niven, Oxford University Press, 2022, £35 LIAM GUILAR welcomes new insights into a little-studied modernist's mind Basil Bunting died in 1985. Despite having been praised as one of the twentieth century’s ‘greatest poets’ critical attention to his…

Highwire poetry

Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light Reagan M. Sova, First to Knock, 2022, 265 pages, US$17 LIAM GUILAR takes a ringside seat for a dazzling extravaganza ‘Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light is an incantatory work of narrative poetry. Infused with hobo melancholy, Jewish lore, bloodshed and hilarity…’. It’s rare for a blurb to be…

One last portion of ‘Chips’

Chips Channon. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons licence The Diaries 1943-1957 Henry ‘Chips’ Channon and Simon Heffer, Hutchinson, 896pp, £35 KEN BELL closes the book on the celebrated diarist This third volume of the Channon diaries concludes the publication of all the surviving diaries that have come down to us, and as with the…

Five poems by Colin James

COLIN JAMES has had a couple of chapbooks of poetry published - Dreams Of The Really Annoying (Writing Knights Press) and A Thoroughness Not Deprived of Absurdity (Piski's Porch Press), and a book of poems, Resisting Probability (Sagging Meniscus Press). A talent for legitimacy Episodically craved by adolescents, Prometheus displays his tats behind The Dollar…

A Queen in the Wilderness

LIAM GUILAR's epic of post-Roman Britain enters its eighth chapter The Story So Far (Chapters 2-7 inclusive have all previously been published on this site, starting here). The complete poem will be published as A Man of Heart in 2023, by Shearsman. Mid Fifth Century Britain. After the legions have withdrawn, the island is facing…

Art-icles of war

Photo: Ivan Radic. Wikimedia Commons Artivism – The Battle for Museums in the Era of Postmodernism Alexander Adams, Societas – Imprint Academic, pp 215, £14.95 GUY WALKER welcomes a spirited sortie onto the cultural battlefield One function of placing fine paintings in ornate gold frames or sculptures on marble plinths is to demonstrate the special…

Lincolnshire – a land apart

Crowland Abbey. Photo: Derek Turner Edge of England: Landfall in Lincolnshire Derek Turner, Hurst & Co., 2022, hb., 446pps, 32 col. Illus. & map, £20 PAUL GARNER enjoys a survey of an oddly little-known county Edge of England is a rich tapestry woven of many threads—history, nature, industry, geography, religion and folklore—all intertwining to create…