James Lasdun

Spiced and Curious

The Venetian Vespers


OUP 91pp order from our bookshop

The Strange Museum


Faber 50pp order from our bookshop

The Equal Skies


Chatto and Windus 64pp order from our bookshop

In the introduction to his poems, George Chapman wrote: ‘it serves not a skilful painter’s turn, to draw the figure of a face only to make known who it represents; but he must limn it, give lustre, shadow and heightening; which though ignorants will esteem spiced, and too curious, yet such as have the judicial perspective, will see it hath motion, spirit and life,’ and it serves well as an introduction to the work of the American poet Anthony Hecht, whose fourth volume The Venetian Vespers places him firmly in the forefront of contemporary poetry. With a vocabulary as rich and strange as Hart Crane’s, and an imaginationion and intelligence well beyond the scope of that writer, he has produced a narrative poem of thirty pages (the title-work of this volume) which is virtually unique among contemporary long poems, in that at it never sags or diffuses into ponderous rumination, but consistently impels the reader forward with a force that is part rhetorical, and part the urgency of a man who has found, in his response to Venice, access to the thing that affects him most vitally; a sense of the world as at once grotesque and beautiful.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A review of fiction for Monday morning: David Jays on the Sparsholt Affair - ,
    • .@simon_schama's Belonging is a 'highly personal and idiosyncratic history of the Jews': ,
    • Hurrah! is upon us. Fill your boots with free copies of the magazine and soak up the festival goodness.,
    • Free copies of the magazine available at , starting next week. Enjoy!,
    • Newsletter - ,
    • Still some few tickets available, at a discount, using code CLFLR10 or following this link: ,
    • . begins later this week. Get your tickets if you haven't already, and look out for free copies of the magazine.,