It’s been a busy Christmas and New Year period. Aside from family get-togethers, I’ve been working through most of it, but have managed to write a poem (not quite finished. Or, at least, I’m still not happy with it). I’ve also been reading, mainly my staple diet over the last few months – Zbigniew Herbert, Wallace Stevens, Denis Johnson, James Schuyler and W.S. Graham.
Over the last few days, I’ve also been reading a little Roy Fisher. His ‘Wonders of Obligation’, which opens his The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 is really startling and I’ve also enjoyed some of the poems from his City sequence, especially ‘The Sun Hacks’ with its lines:
On the first bus nightworkers sleep, or stare
At hoardings that look out on yesterday
I love that description of the hoardings. Anyway, I read in one of City’s prose sections:
Faint blue light dropping down through the sparse leaves of the plane trees in the churchyard opposite after sundown, cooling and shaping heads, awakening eyes.
I then picked up James Schuyler’s Collected and, opening it at random to the poem, ‘Buttered Greens’, read at its beginning:
they fell first
a big plane
of its later
A happy coincidence to have plane trees and indeed blue light/blue shade in consecutive, unrelated poems - both very good ones.
I also re-read Weldon Kees’s four ‘Robinson’ poems last night. Quite brilliant, especially Robinson itself. As a portrait of alienation, a meditation on absence, a blend of reality and surrealism, and a multi-layered puzzle of an ending, you can’t beat it. Never a poem I could get tired of.
In the late hours, I’ve been skipping through Haruki Murakami’s novel, After Dark, which manages to be well written (and, I can only imagine, very well translated), gripping and hugely entertaining.