Saturday, 20 December 2008
Nice Things and a Cat Note
Boyd Tonkin at The Independent has made the New and Collected his poetry book of the year. Isn't that marvellous? The older we get the more likely we are to be forgotten. Sometimes.
(Cynic: There is still time enough for that, nuncle...)*
I see the link only leads to The Independent in general. Here is the text:
New and Collected Poems by George Szirtes (Bloodaxe, £15)
Sometimes a collection of a poet's work opens up a vista of achievement as if for the first time. George Szirtes is still in vigorous mid-stream: he came to England as an eight-year-old refugee from Budapest in 1956. But this grand gathering of his poems shows – in more than 500 beguiling pages – just how tall he stands and how far he sees. From the off, Szirtes merged formal clarity and strong flavour with audacity and ambition of emotions and ideas. Any "difficulty" here lies in our history-haunted times and murky passions, not in wilful obscurity. Szirtes can just as often be comic, charming, playful: he's a poet for all seasons. From sonnets and ballads to engrossing long narratives, this treasure chest has gems for every mood. BT
I think there is a Times review in the pipeline.
I have been studying Lily, our residually feral cat. She is, I think, a cross between Kate Moss and Marcel Marceau. The behaviour and slinkiness is Moss, the body-and-eye language sheer Marceau. Every nervous twitch, every muscle of her small body is articulate. At first I thought her looks, shrinkings, stretchings, starings and flickerings were those of a neurotic guilty child, but now I think they are more complete, more theatrical than that. Her dish is by the fridge but she never allows herself to be fully absorbed in the act of eating. You walk past, she flicks a gaze at you and freezes for a second. You open the fridge door and her neck twizzles up then immediately ratchets back down again. The eyes widen, the nostrils shudder for a microsecond, then another furtive glance. It's all mute theatre. Lily-Bip. Now watch her feeling her way round an invisible telephone booth.