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Pigeons by Kate Bingham

I It’s just the same old air a person breathes, roughly the same respiratory system, steady compared with ours, the same idea of hindrance (flesh the breath must travel through, a bottleneck or valve evolved to please, an oscillating muscle mechanism) amplified and at a pitch so nearly human I, also, love the coo of doves and wood-pigeons – even these poor greasy rats-with-wings stop me to listen, courting in...

We Are The Cenotaphs by Aaron Fagan

Over a cup of Marco Polo And a bowl of bird's nest soup, Listening to the world as a whole Through the particular, I laugh Into the telephone trying to record The room tone on the other end And saw a stellar aberration of light Transfigured by love trundling love In to show there’s no cheapening The awe I feel for the ape who Quietly blazed with attraction As she...

Competence by Anna Kahn

There is nothing in this room for those who have not learned to sing without thinking, who don’t know where the music fits in their bodies, how to smash it open and live it without tearing the neighbouring muscles. We have nothing for those startled by their own tone, who can’t feel it before they breathe in. We stand in a circle, the only audience a sparrow...

Britannic Myths launch at Shapero Rare Books

On the evening of 16th March, The London Magazine's editor, Steven O'Brien, launched his most recent book, Britannic Myths at Shapero Rare Books. Published by Theme Artefact, Britannic Myths is a collaboration in prose and painting between Mythographer Steven O'Brien and Stuckist artist Joe Machine, who together have delved into the mythic matter of Britain and Ireland. Marina Warner writes of Britannic...

America after the Fall at Royal Academy of Arts

Organised by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and the London Royal Academy of Arts, 'America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s' is to be housed by the Royal Academy of Arts from 25 February to 4 June. Although the 45 works on display are marketed as iconic, this is thankfully not entirely true, allowing...

Poetry Prize 2017

The London Magazine has been home to some of the most prestigious poets in its long publishing history, from John Keats to Sylvia Plath. Our annual Poetry Prize seeks out new voices in poetry, providing a platform for publication in the UK’s oldest literary journal. All poems submitted must be previously unpublished and no longer than 40 lines. We have no criteria...

Transcending Boundaries by teamLab at Pace London

Touch coral reefs, and they will die. It doesn’t feel outlandish to suggest an oblique parable in the fact that one of the world’s greatest wonders is also one of its most fragile. Layer upon layer of calcium carbonates form skeletons secreted by polyps that weave themselves over their intricate intestines, joining together with thousands of their brothers and...

Vanessa Bell at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

How much context do we need to appreciate a painting? Take, for example, Vanessa Bell’s Studland Beach, 1912. We might describe it in terms of its diagonal division: a mauve-blue mass floats above; a blanched beige sits below. Two outlying forms disrupt this simple division: a rectangle of creamy-white voyages out into the upper blue region (and, in turn,...

Book and Kitchen: An Evening of Drinks and Poetry

On 28th February, The London Magazine hosted an evening of drinks and poetry at Book and Kitchen, Notting Hill. There were readings from several of our contributors, including the following: Stanley Moss, a critically acclaimed American author and poet. Moss founded Sheep Meadow Press, a non-profit press devoted to poetry and on international poets in translation. Angela Kirby grew up in rural Lancashire, but...

Woolf Works at the Royal Opera House

On the night of its seventeenth performance, Woolf Works opens with sounds of London; Big Ben, the distant rumbling of cars, all of which weave together to form a soundtrack of Mrs Dalloway’s post-war London. A recording of Virginia Woolf herself plays over the city’s sounds: ‘Words, English words are full of echoes, memories, associations - naturally. They’ve been...

David Hockney at Tate Britain

Visiting a gallery in London during the February half term is a rookie error. In a bid to occupy restless children, and driven inside by the drizzle, the families of London descend on its cultural delights. Most are free, accessible by tube, and educational; those who dare to enter will be faced with overexcited kids shouting over distressed parents,...

Hair by Sam McKnight at Somerset House

Follow lipstick red arrows pasted on the floor of Somerset House round winding steps down the rabbit hole, and you will emerge in the world of Sam McKnight’s ‘Hair’. The exhibition’s first piece is a styled wig, disembodied and backlit, hanging in a glass case. The piece has no accompanying caption or explanation; the hair is expected to speak...

Poetry and the Public by Paul Gittins

The prestigious T.S. Eliot Award in January that kicked off the poetry establishment’s crowded calendar of poetry competitions served to highlight the ever widening gap between the poetry featured in the competitions and the poetry reading public.  Any doubt on this matter can be dispelled by figures from The Bookseller.  They show that the small publishers who specialize in...

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

Freud is dangerous territory for poets. He did more than just make his mark on the literature of the twentieth century: he cross-hatched it. Psychoanalysis might have been discredited as a way of understanding the mind, but it still permeates the world of words. Freud’s hold on literature is so extensive that even the phrase describing the author’s fear...

Bright Celestial Objects by Rebecca Goss

After Alison Watt, ‘Venus’ (2015) Their backs against the grass, she felt a pull, as if the leaves on the trees were lodestones, the hairs on her skin rising at once. They reached for each other’s fingers, succumbing to the lift that took them above crowns of oak, all the way to the cumulus. How lost they got, inside the billow, reaching through white - their arms slippery with moisture. Then...

Seamus Heaney and Jan Hendrix: A Shared Landscape of Inspiration

The long friendship and collaboration between Seamus Heaney and Jan Hendrix has been hitherto a little known story and began on paper and in inspiration many years before they first met in person. When the late Nobel prize-winning Irish poet and the Dutch-born artist and architect finally met backstage at the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam in 1993 it was,...

Madness by Patrick Cash

There’s a stream by the Avon ward Where I stand to watch the water flow And unwind the whirlpools of my mind When it’s dark I let its rhythms Strum me to an unquiet peace Away from the shouts and rips The banging on locked doors By day I watch the water flow I think about your beauty’s mind Because to me you seem fine Though they tell me...

The Glass Menagerie at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Cherry Jones returns to the role of Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, directed by John Tiffany. This London revival of American theatre’s classic memory play may be the timely antidote we need. Like a softening dust, olive-ashen light floats among fading Victorian-style lampshades, a writing desk, a frumpy crimson settee, the trove of animal statuettes centre-front. Looming in...

An Actor in the Wings: Notes (1980 – 2009) by Andre van Loon

Charles I could see him from beside the door. He was surrounded by men in suits, pointing at the ceiling, looking at their drinks or at what their wives were doing. I remember the sight of them perfectly, as though it was yesterday, but strangely enough, always without sound. I put my hand on the door knob, in the same way...

Chalk Poets by Stephanie Norgate

The otherness of nature, the gap that separates its permanence from our finite experience, is as much a part of its constructed character as its scenic wonder.  This contrast forms the fulcrum of the Chalk Poets collection, twenty-one poems from seven poets that attempt to capture the sublime environment of the South Downs. First evoked by the title, Ice by...

Adventures in Moominland at Southbank Centre

“What do you know of the Moomins: the books, the television series, or maybe you just recognize the characters?” That was one of the first questions asked at the Adventures in Moominland tour, an immersive exhibition currently on at the Southbank Centre; the span of all the different mediums mentioned perfectly encompassing the much loved Moomin’s longevity across generations and...

In The Split Screen of the Heart

  What do you say when both here and two hundred ---------and twenty latitude degrees away no one lines up on the bottom of the sea ---------to rescue coral reefs, the coasts full of people driving, windows up and music on. ---------Once you ran to the waves the moment you arrived, squealing with pure delight below the ---------sharp cries of excited gulls, the tide out. The past now...

A Different Kind of Prison & Philomel

  They were always there at the window when I awoke, nostrils squashed against the pane, gnarled fingers tap-tap-tapping: macaques, threatening entry. As if they were the gaolers, myself in the cage of a foreign zoo. ‘Never look a rhesus monkey in the eye’, it was said. But I caught a stare that the Brahmin priests and sadhus warned was a dervish’s glare. Though a mosquito net hung over me like...

Talkin’ ’bout my Generation

  Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s, from the Verbund Collection at The Photographers’ Gallery, 7 October to 15 January 2017 The day after the American election that put Donald J. Trump in the White House and the morning I heard of Leonard Cohen’s death, I went to the exhibition of 1970s feminist avant-garde photography at the Photographers’ Gallery. What a difference...