The Forward Prize shortlists: Excelsior!

June 8, 2015

There is a lot to like about the shortlists for this year’s three Forward Prizes. Announced today, they look like this: Forward Prize for Best Collection Ciaran Carson, From Elsewhere (The Gallery Press) Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, The Boys of Bluehill (The Gallery Press) Paul Muldoon, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (Faber & Faber) Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An […]

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Life is a vale of tears, and other news

June 3, 2015

It’s been a very serious year so far, here in Baroque Mansions. I’m currently suffering from borderline panic or at least anxiety disorder and trying to get myself together while keeping fingers and toes crossed. One of the funniest things that has happened in our family (like, ever) took the form of a Facebook update […]

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“We are all made of dust. But it is stardust.”

May 18, 2015

 This post about the ‘Mozart of Paintings’  is presented exactly as it arrived in my inbox. Above: his ‘Magic Flute’ period Contemporary Italian artist Ottavio Fabbri is a visionary, painter, sculptor, director and conceptual artist today announces his art work will be available for private viewings in UK, with exhibitions planned after the summer. Known […]

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‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!’

May 1, 2015

 You remember that 1970s movie, ‘Network’ – it was mainly famous for the catchphrase above, which seemed to strike a chord in disgruntled post-Watergate America. Peter Finch gave a great performance as Howard Beale, a newsreader who threatens to kill himself on air because he’s ‘run out of bullshit’. Well, last Saturday a pair of friends staged a […]

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A cold spring, poetry, and time

April 22, 2015

It is, isn’t it. I’m bloomin’ freezing. But yesterday was lovely and sunny, and the books are pouring in for review. The James Merrill biography has arrived – all 3 kilos of it, I reckon – and I’ve been getting in the mood with his Collected Prose and (of course) some poems, so there’s a kind of wonderful ‘Changing Light’ […]

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Merrilly we go along

April 17, 2015

Something about American book production values… Look! Just a real pleasure, and even buying them is more exciting – you feel like spending your money is an occasion. And can I also say, it got here in three days from New York. UPS. Feels like being a somebody. And the really tragic thing is, no time to […]

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Some reading, and sonofabook

April 8, 2015

This picture from Humans of New York is speaking to me at the moment;  the caption reads: ‘When I came out of the closet, everything came out of the closet’. Here in Baroque Mansions we can only applaud his hat. I’m sitting here in a favourite café in Newington Green, with a frankly ridiculously sunny and […]

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New life

February 27, 2015

Well, the halls of Baroque have been more or less closed for the winter, and there has been black crepe hung along them for Thomas Vink-Lainas, my  much-loved uncle, who died one month and one day ago. He was an artist – a painter, a graphic designer, a maker – a furniture restorer, a framer, […]

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