He remembers lunchtime readings at The Swan, The Dove, The Mermaid; ‘the girls were all gazelles’ and among them sat that lovely, dutiful daughter . . . He loved her. He began to write ghazals to her eyes that reminded him of the sea . . . He stepped out to sun that glittered on the water beyond shop-girls and typists, suited types and he felt, not that they were ‘free bloody birds’ but that happiness might still be caught, endlessly – a salt-wet happiness in which there were few words, in which she lay naked with that just-fucked look and oleanders rustled in the breeze that shook a leaf-shower down outside, while on her shoulder shuttered moonlight fell in stripes . . .
Immoderation, intransigence, exorbitance,a feeling of being out-of-this-worldor better-than-this-world, the prizes comingat the wrong times to the proper peopleand vice-versa, the protestationsof cheerfulness, the all-pervasive insecurity,the chronic lack of commitment, the lifelongdependence on others – for hospitality,money, love – the simultaneous contradictoryimpulses to be adored and alone, connectedand adrift; the brief passionate flare-ups, the longepistolary retreats, the ecstatic arrivals,panic departures; ‘agonizing reappraisal’,disavowal; severe gloom, habitual dejection. by Alan Jenkins
Poems ‘9’ and ‘20’ from Lives of the Poet are copyright © Alan Jenkins, 2013, and reprinted from The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann, edited by André Naffis-Sahely and Julian Stannard (CB editions, 2013). Calling all poets! The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre invites all members of the Oxford community to join us in celebration of National Poetry Day on Thursday 2 October 2014 by performing poetry in our Pop-up Poetry event.The performance will be a part of a series of Pop-up Poetry events featured around Oxford exclusively for National Poetry Day. Should you wish to take part, we would need you to have around five minutes of material to perform. We encourage you to read your own work and/or the work of other poets. If you would like to participate, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org including your name and a sample of the poetry you would like to read, by Friday 5 September 2014. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!