Paul Keegan

Paul Keegan is the editor of The Penguin Book of English Verse and co-editor, with Alice Oswald, of Gigantic Cinema: A Weather Anthology.


Why indeed?

25 January 2024

Clocks are everywhere in Philip Guston, as Bob Frishman points out (Letters, 22 February). Ubiquitous but perfunctory, often one-handed or handless – because telling clock-time is the least of their concerns. In his memoir Guston in Time (2003) Ross Feld has an anecdote from the 1970s: one of Guston’s students was having trouble with a clock she was trying to include in a mural. She worked...

‘The Studio’ (1969)

The virtue​ of Philip Guston at Tate Modern is to leave his outsiderishness intact – his oddity will not go away – while suggesting that Guston might be the mid-century American painter who matters most now. Or who can still offend. Philip Guston Now was the original title of the show, which was scheduled for 2021 but postponed by the...

Book of Bad Ends: French Short Stories

Paul Keegan, 7 September 2023

Maurice Blanchot​, represented in this anthology by the opaque and mesmerising ‘The Madness of the Day’ (1949), wrote that a story is not the relation of an event but the event itself. It seems true that short stories are often less easy to summarise than novels, with no need to tidy loose ends, or even any obligation to end, and that their content often communicates something...

When​ T.S. Eliot asked John Hayward in February 1938 to act as his literary executor (‘in case some unexpected calamity cuts me down like a flower’), he told him to prevent publication of his literary remains – including ‘any letters at all of any intimacy to anybody’. ‘In fact,’ he added, ‘I have a mania for posthumous privacy.’ Eliot...


On David Jones

7 November 2019

Thomas Dilworth doubts my use of the phrase ‘those years’ in connection with David Jones’s participation in the First World War, as represented in the poem In Parenthesis (Letters, 21 November). I was referring to Jones’s active service, his long war, all of it held in the poem’s mirror, even if the narrated time of In Parenthesis is limited to the seven months culminating in the Somme....

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