The Best Asian Poetry 2021–22 (editor Sudeep Sen)

review by Peter Cowlam Kitaab International is a Singapore-based publishing house, whose open call through various media outlets across the world, when the anthology was planned, resulted in 1,500 pages of poetry sent in by almost 500 poets. As commissioning editor, Sudeep Sen invited further writers from across ‘AustralAsia’ to send their work to him […]

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The Labyrinths of Time

by Peter Cowlam A marine organism in unfathomable ocean depths receives light from a star a light year away, and responds, with a tiny twitch, the merest throb. By definition, the light the organism is influenced by has taken a year to reach it, as a staggered simultaneity, asking us to reconcile an apparent contradiction. […]

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Saint or sinner? The Sins of G. K. Chesterton by Richard Ingrams

Review by Jon Elsby Some years ago, a slim, paperback volume entitled The Holiness of G. K. Chesterton appeared. It was a collection of essays by various Roman Catholic academics who shared the (still somewhat eccentric) view that Chesterton should be canonized. Now, we have a book by Richard Ingrams – best known as the […]

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Curing the Pig, by Eliza Granville

Episode 5 The Quixotesque misadventures of unreconstructed Marcher Morgan Jones-Jones, who has probably not heard of the suffragettes let alone second- and third-wave feminists. Rosie had laughed long and hard when Morgan claimed he worshipped his mother. In those days, he was trying to impress her with every bit of ammunition at his disposal, including […]

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Beyond Religion: Imaging a New Humanity by Valson Thampu

Reviewed by Peter Cowlam You might posit, from an Hegelian perspective, and given the long-term goals of history, that reformations of one kind or another cannot be avoided. There can be no refining process otherwise. If the long-term goal of human history is spiritual as much as material, then an intractable problem occurs in the […]

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Jackie Marua, the Abbey Road Studios, Thirteen Eleven, and Suicide & Co

by Peter Cowlam Jackie Marua, songwriter and music producer, has announced his latest project Thirteen Eleven, an autobiographical piece that has arisen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of his wife’s death, who after a struggle with depression took her own life in 2018. The couple were childhood sweethearts, and had been married for under two years […]

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Intrigues and Machinations: Conclave by Robert Harris

Review by Jon Elsby Assessing Robert Harris’s1 Conclave is not only a question of style. Also singled out are the quality of the dialogue, the architecture of the narrative, the balance between different sections, the sharpness of the characterization, the economy and precision of the descriptive writing, the ability unerringly to choose the telling concrete […]

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Anthropocene: Climate Change, Contagion, Consolation, by Sudeep Sen

Poems Reviewed by Peter Cowlam The term ‘Anthropocene’ has been proposed as the definition of the geological epoch dating from the start of significant human impact on the earth, and on its ecosystems. Anthropocene is also the title of Sudeep Sen’s latest (multi-genre) book of poetry, prose and photography – published in the UK in […]

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Curing the Pig, by Eliza Granville

Episode 4 The Quixotesque misadventures of unreconstructed Marcher Morgan Jones-Jones, who has probably not heard of the suffragettes let alone second- and third-wave feminists. But now it was time to party. Morgan produced the own-brand sparkling wine and a column of plastic cups, shook the first bottle, untwisted the wire, looked up, and grinned. Above […]

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“We’s Who’s the Earth is For”: Storm Visions

by Ciarán O’Rourke A decade ago I began to form a habit that in the intervening years has evolved into a strange passion: going to the cinema, and watching movies, alone. Two films in particular, from those early days, seemed so urgent and exhilarating, so attuned to what was then (and is still) being talked […]

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Out and About in the Fourth Estate With Steven Gilfillan

Bizarre-ha Of all the achievements the grey-haired, and now bespectacled Joseph Nettexe may, and often does boast – all of it set out in a voluminous résumé – a first hard hour at the woolsack is not about to be one of them. Mr Nettexe plc is voluble in stating this himself, as often as […]

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Curing the Pig, by Eliza Granville

Episode 3 The Quixotesque misadventures of unreconstructed Marcher Morgan Jones-Jones, who has probably not heard of the suffragettes let alone second- and third-wave feminists. As instructed by his Mam, Morgan still wore a vest. And, in spite of the macho posturing, he wasn’t much of a drinker either. Almost a closet teetotaller, in fact. Certain […]

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Curing the Pig, by Eliza Granville

Episode 2 The Quixotesque misadventures of unreconstructed Marcher Morgan Jones-Jones, who has probably not heard of the suffragettes let alone second- and third-wave feminists. Not everyone agreed about the name – or about the man. Few minds are open to us. It’s another curse of the Age. Only three we managed to contact, but three […]

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Curing the Pig, by Eliza Granville

Episode 1 The Quixotesque misadventures of unreconstructed Marcher Morgan Jones-Jones, who has probably not heard of the suffragettes let alone second- and third-wave feminists. From the beginning the stories spun around the affairs of woman, man, and pig have been singularly ravelled. And how could it be otherwise when the threads of their genetic make-up […]

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The Certainty of George Weigel

by Jon Elsby 1 George Weigel is a controversial figure. A Catholic intellectual and a political and cultural conservative of a distinctively American kind, he is greatly admired by those who share his convictions and severely criticized by those who do not, including some of his co-religionists. But reactions to Weigel are rarely mild. For […]

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The Butcher of Poland

by Garry O’Connor Condemned to death and hanged in 1947, Hans Frank’s public repentance was unique among the leading Nazi criminals tried at Nuremberg. One psychiatrist pointed out Frank’s ‘beatific tranquillity merely hid his own tensions’. But what of such carefully acted out piety? Didn’t this hastily cultivated yet forceful and theatrical piety have something […]

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Green Bottle Bloomers: On Mike Mills & The National

by Ciarán O’Rourke Mills’s movies are shaped by his peculiar obsessions, and this, in large measure, is their saving grace. In Beginners and 20th Century Women, he returns compulsively, not just to specific scenes from (his) youth, but to the process of remembering the past – which for him, as perhaps for all of us, […]

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Out and About in the Fourth Estate With Steven Gilfillan

Under The Greenwood Tree It was one of these evocative autumn mornings, so I was doubly shocked to hear that Borak Yesenin’s mother had died. It came as a surprise too when on behalf of him and the rest of the family I was asked to the funeral, and in the small parish church where […]

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The philosophy of Iris Murdoch

by Jon Elsby During her lifetime, Iris Murdoch was probably better known – and more highly esteemed – as a novelist than as a philosopher. Privately, Isaiah Berlin once called her ‘a lady not noted for the clarity of her ideas’.’ Yet she taught philosophy at St Anne’s College, Oxford for several years, and, since […]

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The Blairs, Catholicism, and New Labour

by Garry O’Connor The word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin religare, meaning ‘to bind back’, and in the present climate, in a society awash with an ‘all-pervasive claim to victimhood’, and the escalating fear and often reality of violence, a ‘binding back’ in multiple ways, not least culturally, is needed. While the No. 10 press […]

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