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Chicago Review - Spring 2007

  • Issue Number: Volume 53 Issue 1
  • Published Date: Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

This British Poetry Issue is likely to be enjoyed by those with a strong academic interest in poets of the so-called “Cambridge School.” An introduction by Sam Ladkin and Robin Purves defines this label as a “widely-promulgated apparition” that is “associated with elitism and self-serving obscurantism . . . held to stand for a deliberately inaccessible mode of writing, engorged with critical theory, often held to be 'only about language itself' and written purely for the delectation of a smug coterie of reclusive adepts.” Upon perusal of this magazine's contents, you may agree that with Ladkin and Purves that this assessment is “second-order gossip [. . .] ill-informed and aimed at nothing that exists,” or you may wonder, you mean it isn't? Argument rarely trumps personal taste, so perhaps it would be best to sample a few of the featured poets. For the intrigued, here's a bit of Peter Manson's “Snail Book”: “Ramshorn snail eggs hatch into pink larvae, in transparent cup-shaped shells, slit mouths pulsing white on the glass. // Eat your dinner or we rehydrate The Fonz! // Zebra snail masturbating on aquarium air-stone.” And here are some lines from Chris Goode's “Bent Pony”: “Violet crime rockets. Over my shoulder goes 1 care. Talent slop / vomit turns out to be liquidised fashionista: / whose final thought was a corridor lined with donkey.” These two poets, as well as Andrea Brady and Keston Sutherland, are the focus here; sizable selections of their work are provided, followed by essays designed to decipher. Also included: a helpful pull-out poster of “Styles of British Poetry 1945-2000” and a selection of fifteen contemporary book reviews.
[www.humanities.uchicago.edu/review]

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Review Posted on May 31, 2007
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