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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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Ukraine should be non-aligned and NATO should back off!

The situation couldn’t be more dangerous By Phil Hall Through their actions in recent years, the leaders of Nato have succeeded in rewinding the clock and taking us back to the most dangerous phase of the cold war. The result is that we are now on the verge of a hot war. At the same […]

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David Rushmer’s theatre of poetry

Yogesh Patel When I discovered David Rushmer’s uncluttered poetry with distilled expressions in the mould of neo-impressionism in Remains to Be Seen published by Shearsman Books, I was thrilled but wondered if such European style of abstract poetry would be appreciated at all in England. Chhāyāvād in Hindi is akin to such writing, and even the […]

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Letters from Leigh

A Lowveld Garden By Leigh Voigt I send you greetings from a lovely summer Lowveld. I shall send you pictures of my garden. Leigh Voigt is a South African artist best known for her studies of trees, birds, cattle and small wild creatures. Her wildlife studies have great sensitivity and are remarkable for her use […]

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Tahrir and the Poetry of Witness

The Utopians of Tahrir Square: Dr. Anba Jawi and Catherine Temma Davidson Introduction by Catherine Davidson The Utopians of Tahrir Square contains poems from 28 young Iraqi poets whose work responds to the protests for human rights that took over Baghdad’s Tahrir (Freedom) Square in 2019. Bringing these poems to life in English was the product […]

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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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In defence of the Upstart Crow

All writers have a voice, and Francis Bacon is not Shakespeare – not even Shake-spear By Philip R. Hall Shakespeare is the author of his own work, not anyone else. Why should people try to separate Shakespeare from his own work? My rationale for this is quite simple; it’s a miguided attempt to hoard intellectual […]

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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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War on wokies

Is “our” culture in peril? By Paul Halas The right wing press doesn’t pull its punches: an army of do-gooders, snowflakes and lefty killjoys are out to rob us of our freedoms and force us to abandon our cherished traditions. Our history is being re-written, monuments are being torn down, our favourite books, films and […]

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Reborn as a Buddhist

My Metamorphosis from Christian caterpillar to Buddhist butterfly By Patrick Taggart Caterpillar: in reality I was a judgemental asshole I am ashamed of the young man I was in 1985. I was an evangelical Christian and I remember chiding a friend for not being sufficiently joyful. Yes, she had lost her only brother, her soulmate, […]

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Editorial: what is humane socialism?

By Phil Hall and the contributors of Ars Notoria I dreamed of a world where people got together into families and then organised into neighbourhoods. From there they organised into districts, then towns and regions and larger regions. I dreamed that everything that was political and economic and social and artistic, and environmental and recreative […]

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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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the apathetic nation

ARE WE A NATION BEYOND CARING? By Paul Halas They partied and broke their own rules; they’ve been rumbled but will there now be a reckoning? The whitewash is already underway, Allegra Stratton is the blood sacrifice and an inquiry, of sorts, is to be held – led by someone who allegedly attended one of […]

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Be careful what you wish for!

Boris Johnson is hopeless By Phil Hall I made a suggestion on Mariella Frostrup’s Book Programme decades ago which she broadcast with a laugh. It was my opportunity to offend the whole English nation: Why not celebrate Saint George’s Day as they do in Spain? Give a book and a flower. This way we can […]

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