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Sunday, 1 February 2009

Snow General Over England

I had some friends over today, one a poet, and we drank lots of wine, ate, and then they left. There was also a dog, and some children, and some crayon drawings on a lamp, by the end of it. Then as snow began falling, I read some new books. Farewell My Lovely, a new book of poems by Polly Clark, which I found exceptionally moving and well-made, with couplets that burst with surprising dark images of loss; and the new Faber debut, by Emma Jones, which seems quite good, though influenced by Wallace Stevens, and perhaps fussy and whimsical (the use of the word "fictive" in several poems is very Stevensian). Some of her poems use tropical flourishes and explorations of doubles and perception in the usual fun and clever ways; I always love both snow and tropical things in poems. Then I started reading The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano, who died recently. I saw a copy of his 2666 in the Tate the other night (Rothko!) and have found his book very fun, if a little sad: first reaction - it is about poets - a famous novel about poets! - how sad, I know 189 poets who get drunk and could write circles around most novelists and will die generally unread outside the small lamplit circle that follows poetry - and how true the novel was to youth. It reminded me a little of the work of Robert Allen (his novels), who died at 60, but unfamous. Anyway, the snow reminds me of Canada, and of Montreal, and I miss my friends there, and I hope the snow keeps falling so all of England is closed tomorrow, and the children throw snowballs all day, and all the poets can stay home, and write their secret novels, or read the books they want to catch up on. At one point I got up from my book, ran out, and was hit by a snowball thrown by the woman I love, and I threw one back, but somehow hers had more weight, more force, and were more consistently rolled.
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