Monthly Archives: December 2008

August Kleinzahler

“I’ve always felt that there’s a very thin membrane between madness, alcoholism, and/or destitution and being an OK American guy in a comfortable heated apartment with meatballs and a decent Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge.”

– August Kleinzahler

Time does not bring relief

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,–so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

– Edna St Vincent Millay

Mary Oliver’s ‘The Uses of Sorrow’

“Someone I loved gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”

– Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”

Turner’s Paintbox

“This is how it happens, then.  This is how our lives unfold.  A shout in the street.  A cry and a whisper.  Two people turn their faces from each other.  Forget the nightly news, the special bulletin from our New York correspondent.  Life happens by accumulation, one moment falling softly on another.  A snowflake lands upon a leaf of grass high on a mountainside.  One by gentle one they fall, and when spring comes there is the creak and roar of an avalanche and a whole village is swept away.  For us too each moment drops unnoticed, the molecules of time falling and nestling against each other, until the inevitable occurs.”

Paul Morgan, Turner’s Paintbox (Penguin Viking, 2007)

Dylan Thomas

“A good poem is a contribution to reality.  The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it.  A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”

– Dylan Thomas

More postal poetry

I created my poetry postcard, “disco dreamz”, with a photograph called “Graffiti Behind Snow” taken by Mikey G Ottawa.  Thanks for allowing me to use the picture, Mikey.

Take a look at “disco dreamz” here.

Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

Sadly, I’ve just heard English poet, playwright and children’s writer, Adrian Mitchell, has passed away.

“I want to speak, to sing to total strangers.  It’s my way of talking to the world or a small part of it.  So I use the language I use to my friends.  They wouldn’t believe me if I used some high flown literary language.  I want them to believe me.”

– Adrian Mitchell (in an interview with Nick Watson originally published in The Argotist magazine in February 1996.)

News about Adrian Mitchell on Bloodaxe’s website here.

Watch Adrian Mitchell reading “Telephone”, “Especially When It Snows” and “Death is Smaller Than I Thought” here.


Ted Hughes on Adrian Mitchell:

“Adrian Mitchell is no more naive than Stevie Smith, but like her he has the innocence of his own experience … real inner freedom and the courage of his own music.  Among all the voices of the Court, a voice as welcome as Lear’s fool … Humour that can stick deep and stay funny.”

John Berger on Adrian Mitchell:

“Nobody else writes like him.  And it is becoming more and more evident that his achievement endures … Nobody has ever departed with such language for such a destination … Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination … Against the present British state he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”

Angela Carter on Adrian Mitchell:

“Joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe.”


Read more about Adrian Mitchell here.

Listen to Adrian Mitchell’s audio recordings at The Poetry Archive.

An interview with Adrian Mitchell at The Poetry Archive.

Adrian Mitchell reads his famous poem protesting the Vietnam war,”To Whom It May Concern”, here.