For admirers of Clive James’s poetry written since he became terminally ill in 2011 (and this reviewer is certainly one), The River in the Sky will pose something of a quandary. In collections like Sentenced to Life (2015) and Injury Time (2017), the poems were generally tough, vulnerable, well-turned and ...... (read more)
‘You might ask how a man who spent his days with the major poems of Browning could wish to spend his evenings with the minor movies of Chow Yun-fat,’ Clive James asks ...... (read more)
Clive James’s series of memoirs began in 1980 with the Unreliable one. Thirty-five years and four more very funny books later, the Five Lives of Clive have been rounded with a sixth: a slim volume of poems. It is probably also the most reliable, as if, paradoxically, James took more poetic licence when working in prose. The prevailing tone is a long way fro ...
High dungeon was a feeling I knew well
When mockery from men weighed on my soul.
As your Prime Minister I went through hell,
If I can say so without hyperbowl.
If I were well again, I’d walk for miles,
My name a synonym for tirelessness.
On Friday nights I’d go out on the tiles: ... (read more)
Much as I loved you in the snow and ice,
Side-slipping down the chute below Spinale –
It’s twenty years now since we saw Madonna
(Di Campiglio, not Ciconne)