“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…

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…

A painter’s peregrinations

Field Notes: Walking the Territory Maxim Peter Griffin, London: Unbound, 132pps, hb., £16.99 DEREK TURNER admires a unique landscape artist Several years ago, when I was thinking about writing a book about Lincolnshire, I found a strikingly original Twitter account. Almost every day, the seemingly tireless Maximpetergriff posted pictures painted during or after apparently endless…

Kafka: oracle and artist

Franz Kafka, Der Denker The Aphorisms of Franz Kafka Franz Kafka, Reiner Stach (ed.), Shelley Frisch (trans.), Princeton University Press, 2022, hb, 230pp + XXII, 9 mono illus., £20/$24.95 Franz Kafka: The Drawings Pavel Schmidt, Andreas Kilcher (ed.), Kurt Beals (trans.), Yale University Press, 2022, hb, 368pp, 240 col. illus., £35/$50 ALEXANDER ADAMS sees different…

Summer with the Sinfonia

Tintagel. Photo: Chris Gunn. Wikimedia Commons STUART MILLSON enjoys a super-orchestra’s seasonal offerings The re-formed Sinfonia of London (a recording and film-score orchestra of the 1960s) appeared at the Proms on Saturday 16th July under the baton of the ever-popular John Wilson, for a concert of music by British composers. The programme was made up…

Abducted in Argentina

Memorial to the "Disappeared" at the Naval Mechanics Institute, Buenos Aires. Source: Wikimedia Commons Kidnapped by the Junta: Inside Argentina’s Wars with Britain and Itself Julian Manyon, Icon Books, 336 pages, 2022, £20 KEN BELL is gripped by a ripping yarn of kidnap and high politics Julian Manyon’s book is not a history of the…

The life (and luck) of Nigel

Photo: Gage Skidmore. Wikimedia Commons One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage Michael Crick, Simon & Schuster, 2022, 606 pages, £25 KEN BELL reflects on the career of Brexit’s cheeky chappie Many of the people involved in the Brexit debate will merit footnotes in the histories of the period that have yet…