In the Critics this week (sort of)

New fiction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ryan Gilbey on superhero films and more.

There's no New Statesman this week - pick up our Easter double issue if you haven't already. In the meantime, we advise you to peruse the new story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or Slavoj Zizek's piece in praise of St Paul as a political radical.

You can see highlights of our Greatest Political Photographs collectors' supplement, and Jonathan Derbyshire reviews the new exhibition of paintings and installations by Takeshi Kitano at the Fondation Cartier. Ryan Gilbey is not convinced by the hype surrounding the superhero film Kick-Ass, while Gina Allum responds to Andrew Billen's review of the new RSC play The Gods Weep.

Normal service is resumed on Thursday 15 April.

Photo: Getty
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Moss Side Public Laundry, 1979

A new poem by Pippa Little.

Childless I arrive with a rucksack,
own no Silver Cross steered topple-high
by the bare-legged women in check coats
and bulging shoes who load and unload
ropes of wet sheets, wring them out
to rams’ horns while heat-slap of steam
dries to tinsel in our hair, frizzles our lips
gritty with Daz sherbert dabs and the mangle,
wide as a room-size remnant, never stops groaning
one slip and you’re done for…

In the boom and echo of it, their calls swoop
over Cross-your-Hearts, Man. City socks,
crimplene pinks and snagged underskirts,
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out! blasts
from across the park, whole streets
get knocked out like teeth,
in a back alley on the way a man
jumped me, shocked as I was
by the fuck off! I didn’t know was in me

but which I try out now to make them laugh, these women
who scrub blood and beer and come
with red-brick soap, quick-starch a party dress
while dryers flop and roar
before their kids fly out of school,
flock outside for a smoke’s sweet rest
from the future bearing down of four walls and one man.

Pippa Little’s collection Overwintering (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Award. Her new book, Twist, was published in March by Arc. 

This article first appeared in the 20 July 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The new world disorder