In the Critics this Week

Philip Larkin and Ernest Hemingway remembered, Jude Rogers on Britpop and Will Self on kebabs.

This week, Anthony Thwaite, a former NS literary editor, assesses the legacy of Philip Larkin's poetry. To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Live Aid, Daniel Trilling charts the rise of the charitable pop star, while Rachel Cooke asks why abortion is still a taboo subject for TV drama.

In Books, Leo Robson reviews a restored edition of Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, Jude Rogers commends Louise Wener's candid memoir of her time as member of the Britpop band Sleeper and Charles Leadbeater explores the ideas of the internet guru Clay Shirky.

Elsewhere, Peter Watts reports from a provocative exhibition on skin at the Wellcome Collection, and we have the rest of the usual columns from our award-winning critics: Ryan Gilbey on film, Antonia Quirke on radio and Will Self's Real Meals - this week on the delights of a shish kebab.

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink