#review Slightly Foxed, Spring issue 2019, no.61 @FoxedQuarterly

Cover illustration by Faith Chevannes

Although the fire isn’t lit today, Storm Freya is whistling about outside making it a perfect day for several pots of tea and later a vegan chilli cooked up by one of my sons. So I recommend that you plump the cushions, stop searching longingly out of the window for blue skies, bring the vase of daffodils through from the kitchen windowsill and plant yourself for an afternoon of Slightly Foxed. This is the Spring has sprung issue full of contradictions and grassy delights; love and tears, springtide awakening, flowering, rising up out of a deep sleep, but also April showers. Let’s get going.

This edition takes us straight to Paris – no hanging about there. Laura Freeman talks about The Paris Effect through the perspective of Nancy Mitford’s Parisian novels. Beauty, love, pastries and couture as well as “brimming” – all emotions are heightened in Paris, and I was indeed transported to a Paris. I think Laura’s desire to become “une femme serieuse” will soon occur and her delightful and elegant observation on a difficult personal time is testimony to this.

Unapologetically I immediately turned to page 34, Springtime Reflections by Chris Saunders. It is in this article that I found stylistic prose describing what should have been “a bucolic guide to the Quantocks” but somehow turned into the “spooky, funny and also strangely wise” In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas. Beautiful woodcuts adorn this article, but no credit for the artist – maybe I missed something. What I definitely found in this article was Spring. Glorious, hopeful, joyful Spring.

Teased by the title An Unusual Lexicographer by Ann Kennedy Smith, I poured the tea and dove straight into the world of spoken English. Ann tells the reader about her connection with words and her hoarding of books about words, before going on to lay out for us why Richard Burchfield is an unusual lexicographer.

“Richard Burchfield’s job as a lexicographer was to be dispassionate about language, but The Spoken Word reveals him to be a lover of words and literature.”

Finally I’m treating myself to Derek Parker’s Striking Sparks, a commentary on The Poetry Review after which I shall plan my next walk taking in the delights of the forthcoming season.

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