John Clegg

John Clegg’s new collection, Holy Toledo!, will be published by Carcanet this spring.


Hearts Were Trumps

30 March 2023

Edward Barlow wonders about the origin of the saying ‘Hearts were trumps when Basing House was took’ (Letters, 4 May). I believe it refers to a tradition that in the final siege, in October 1645, the garrison had been surprised while the men were playing cards. The tradition and the saying date back to the early 19th century at least, though most sources give clubs, rather than hearts, as the...
J.R.S. Davies queries the bus journey in the final chapter of Under the Net, but Iris Murdoch’s knowledge of London transport needn’t be at fault (Letters, 9 September). The 88 is approaching Oxford Circus down Langham Place; Jake Donaghue is looking out of the front window. The ‘crowds in Oxford Street’, I presume, are streaming over the pedestrian crossing ahead of him while the bus waits...

He got it all from me!

11 October 2018

I think Mark Jacobs must be mistaken in correcting Colin Burrow on the matter of Laura Riding’s auto-defenestration. It wasn’t from a fourth-storey window, Jacobs says, but the third storey. This is the house:Nobody disputes that Riding jumped from the top window (on the other side); so the fall was certainly four storeys (she landed on the basement-level patio). Whether an estate agent would describe...

Space programs/screwbean mesquite/barrel cactus Ecoregion/section/tract

        The intricacies of a desert         lawncare business,         ‘Quarter million a year’         says José Luis, carefully,...

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