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Kevin Cryan
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"Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 1958-2015
« : 25.04.16 at 13:06 »
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The Times
 
Poetry Review
Books: Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust, and Collected Poems: 1958-2015 by Clive James
 
Reviewed by Philip Collins

Bring me the sweat of Gabriela Sabatini/ in a green Lycurgus cup with a sprig of mint”News Group Newspapers Ltd
Quote:
Clive James jokes that he is now making a good living out of dying. Since declaring that the end was nigh, and that he might not live to see the maple trees blossom again, he last year produced a slim book of criticism and some new poems. A volume on binge-watching The West Wing is on its way. Now comes the hefty Collected Poems and, an unexpected addition, a critical essay on Proust, in verse. That’s the sort of man we are dealing with. The sort who, despite being seriously ill, will in secret write a verse critique of Proust.

 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #1: 30.05.16 at 20:36 »
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BOOKS 30 May 2016
 
Clive James's intriguing poetic response to Proust
 
What is James trying to do? He jokes that he has made a good living out of dying.
By Patrick McGuinness
 
Quote:
Baudelaire once wrote that “the best review of a painting might be a sonnet or an elegy”, and it is liberating to think that we can all respond to art with art. This isn’t just because it bypasses the airspace of criticism, but because art liberates something of the artist in ourselves. Baudelaire also knew that thinking needed to be rescued from academicians and from official culture.
 
Clive James’s verse commentary on Proust would make sense to Baudelaire. As James says in his preface: “I had always thought that the critical essay and the poem were closely related forms.” This is a very old thing to say, but perhaps now, when poetry is so marginal and introspective, is the right new time to be saying it. Part of the problem with saying that art should respond to art is the countervailing belief that great art should be in some way unanswerable. In short, what is the point of a short free-verse book on Á la recherche du temps perdu? Who’s it for? What’s it for? There is also something defiantly retro about the title (A Verse Commentary), evoking those chalk-dust-covered Latin schoolbooks we see in black-and-white films. But there’s a difference: usually the commentary is in prose and it’s longer than the poem; here, the commentary is in verse and it’s shorter (by a ratio of roughly 90:1) than the prose.
 
So, what is James trying to do? He jokes that he has made a good living out of dying. He has been prolific: his recent output – two books of criticism, a Collected Poems, a translation of Dante, and now this – is part of a great burst of late fruition. This book is not as slight as it looks, nor indeed........................................  

 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #2: 14.06.16 at 15:23 »
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ABC TV (Australia)


Clive James  on Lateline  
 
Extract from transcipt
Quote:
...."Could be worse," he told Lateline.  
 
"In fact I'm feeling very lucky. I've got the painless version of my disease, the drugs seem to be on top of it. The only drawback is I don't know how long they'll be on top of it. The lights might go out at anytime so I try to use my time well."
 
Before the lights do go out, James is planning a "short epic", in the style of TS Eliot's The Waste Land.  
 
"It's going to be about the end, it's an end game poem, but it's going to be more fun than The Waste Land, this is the funny version of The Waste Land," he said.
 
"I suppose merriment is my natural mode. I'm not really all that merry a person. I've got a pretty pessimistic view but I can't help making jokes. Sometimes I wish it wasn't so."
 
James is also working on a 250,000-word follow to his book of essays, Cultural Amnesia, as well as a return to television criticism.  
 
"There's a little book about the delightful subject of binge watching, and it's called Play All, which is an instruction on the machine, on the TV," he said......

 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #3: 15.06.16 at 09:06 »
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on 14.06.16 at 15:23, Kevin Cryan wrote:
ABC TV (Australia)


Clive James  on Lateline  
 
Extract from transcipt
 
read on  
 
Kevin Cryan

Amendment 15/06/2016  
 
Lateline interview and full transcript
 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #4: 18.06.16 at 07:21 »
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The Australian

 
Clive James’s Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust

Peter Craven
The Australian

Clive James’s tribute to Proust, Gate of Lilacs, is poignant but a little uncertain. Picture: Britta Campion

 
Quote:
....we’ve known for some time now that James is terminally ill and one of the themes that recurs through this oddly essayistic set of poems is the juxtaposition of this fact and the way Proust made his A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past, as translator Scott Moncrieff originally called it) a monument in the face of inevitable, impending and premature death.
 
“Until we die,” James says in his Prospero poem, “I’ll drown my books”, adding, “And as I write there’s nothing but the drugs / To keep me going”. And then at the end of this suite of poems:
 
 … And soon
 
All that I love will leave me, as I go
 
First into silence, then the fire, and then  
 
The harbour water, in which there will be
 
At last no room to breathe, no time to think:
 
No time to think even of you, Marcel

That is moving and movingly eloquent. So too is the weird, lame quotation from Antony and Cleopatra, “Ah, soldier” — that fragment of language, James reminds us, with which Charmian, Cleopatra’s waiting woman, meets death, which in James’s hands may be a remote echo of how Jean Cocteau said Proust, that namby pamby of a dandy, looked like a soldier on his deathbed.

.....

 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #5: 25.06.16 at 10:18 »
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RN
ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Tuesday 21st June
 
Clive James tackles Proust on Books and Arts

with Michael Cathcart on RN
 
Quote:
In 2010, Clive James was diagnosed with Leukaemia and told that he would die. Five years on, he continues to live, thanks to the timely release of a new drug which has put his Leukaemia on hold. During his borrowed time, he has embarked on one of the most fertile periods of his life. He has released six books, and has just written a new book of poetry on Marcel Proust.

 
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Re:  "Gate of Lilacs" and "Collected Poem: 19
« Reply #6: 25.06.16 at 19:45 »
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MEANJINQUARTERLY
 
Clive James
 
Winter 2016

 
Rhyming Gently into That Good Night
 
Quote:
On the eve of the publication of his Collected Poems (Picador), Meanjin put some questions to Clive James.
 
Why write?
 
At my age and in my ramshackle condition, the question has altered from ‘Why write?’ to ‘Why not?’ Once I wrote because I couldn’t skate, dance or dive. Now I have run out of any other means of expression even to dream of. The urge to express myself would still seem to be basic, however, even as the self disintegrates. It’s a personality deficiency. The unexpected bonus is that there’s so much to express, here at the terminus. Love of nature, for example: for one who had no particular love of nature, it’s a pleasant shock to find oneself getting interested in, say, a small girl-group of goldfinches, or a moth.
 
What is the difference between writing poetry and writing poems?

In the last few years it has become clearer to me that it’s the poem that matters. As I presumed to insist in my late little Poetry Notebook, poetry is an abstract term. I don’t necessarily stick to that principle when I’m reading Milton again, or Wordsworth’s Prelude—the big poem’s distant outline is so often too far away to be thought of as a binding frame—but I do stick to it when I’m writing a poem of my own. The way it hangs together has to be a large part of its effect.
 
Your career in media performance … did it all have writing at its core?

All I have ever been, as a media performer, is a writer who speaks. I still do it now, when giving a radio or TV interview about a new book. I write what I have to say in my head just before I say it. My Collected Poems will probably generate quite a few media appearances all through this year and I’ll try to say everything as entertainingly as I can, and kick myself afterwards if I don’t, even though I have so little strength left to kick with. I threw that last bit in so as to juice up the paragraph, because this is a media appearance, too.
 

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« Last Edit: 25.06.16 at 19:58 by Kevin Cryan » IP logged
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