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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Monday 20 February 2006

Lowell and Hill. And Home.

My two Books of the Week this week are Michael Hofmann's small selection of Robert Lowell poems (Faber and Faber) and Jeffrey Wainwright's helpful and very readable essays on poet Geoffrey Hill, Acceptable Words (Manchester University Press). I hope to be speaking with Professor Wainwright about his book, here on RSB, very soon.

This week's interview is with provocative writer and artist Stewart Home. Responding to a question of mine regarding Alexander Trocchi, Stewart said:

Although a tad literary in terms of sentence construction, I think both Young Adam and Cain’s Book are extremely good pieces of prose. I also like much of Trocchi’s occasional writing such as Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds. He was a very good writer, but definitely flawed as an individual. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to describe Trocchi as a tosser when it comes to thinking through the drug scene around him, and the way he liked to get other people, and particularly beautiful young women, hooked on smack. That said, while my mother was involved in Trocchi’s drug scene for years, he wasn’t responsible for her getting into skag. Regardless of what you think of him as a man (and I don’t think much), you can’t knock his skill as a writer. Your phrase flawed hero pretty much sums him up.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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