S J Birkill
just a sensible reserve
So Brightly At The Last -- available now.
« : 07.12.19 at 04:15 »
Red Door kept us guessing on this one. It was originally scheduled for publication on October 3rd, the day I visited Clive for the last time ever, at his home in Cambridge, together with Pete Atkin and Clive's daughter Claerwen. On my way up to Clive's I called in at Waterstones on Sidney Street. They told me they had one copy on order, but it hadn't yet arrived. Rather than try Heffers, I carried on to my lunch appointment with Pete. Two days later, at The Pheasantry in Chelsea, author Ian Shircore advised me that publication had been delayed, to mid-February 2020.
Not that I was in total suspense: Ian had sent me a proof copy earlier in the year, and I received a copy of the final version the week of Clive's death.
What a work! Ian must have gone to incredible lengths to research so thoroughly and meticulously this commentary on Clive's poetry. And his observations are in places laugh-out-loud funny. After reading the book I had to go back and read again each poem that Ian had illustrated and analysed, and I was finding much that I had missed on first reading.
Looking around the Web for a new publication date, I found several: November 28th, December 2nd, February 13th. But I note that Amazon are already shipping, so there's absolutely no reason to wait. Grab it now, and if you've ever wanted to convince your sceptical friends about Clive James' credentials as one of the great poets of today, give them a copy too, for Christmas. (Other sacred and secular mid-winter festivals are available).
So Brightly at the Last -- Clive James and the Passion for Poetry, by Ian Shircore.
Red Door Press, 2019, ISBN 978-1-913062-07-1.