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This review is taken from Poetry Nation 2 Number 2, 1974.

Donald Davie The Varsity Match
A Poetry Chronicle, Essays and Reviews by Ian Hamilton. Faber £2.95

White-shield Worthington was still
Around and we'd got time to kill
(Pages were harder than beer-mugs to fill.)
We broke the tape
Playing bar-billiards until
The thing took shape.


THUS JOHN FULLER, in January 1973, recalling how perhaps ten years earlier he and Ian Hamilton, with presumably one or two others, prepared themselves for the assault on literary England that was subsequently carried through in the pages of Hamilton's magazine The Review. Ten or twelve or perhaps fifteen years before, those same Oxford pubs where Fuller and Hamilton drank Worthington, had seen John Wain and Kingsley Amis, with presumably one or two others (Wallace Robson? Arthur Boyars ? sometimes Philip Larkin?), preparing for the assault that, by way of Wain's radio programme New Soundings, established itself as 'the Movement', recorded in Robert Conquest's anthology New Lines and George Hartley's magazine Listen. Ten or so years before that the plotters in the pubs were Sidney Keyes and Drummond Allison; ten years earlier still, they were Wystan Auden and Stephen Spender; and ten or so years after John Fuller and Ian Hamilton they were, I suppose, Michael Schmidt and Grevel Lindop and Gareth Reeves.

I may be wrong about some of the details, for I was not present on any of these occasions. But the general picture is surely accurate; for the last fifty years each new generation of English ...


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