I'll be reading from Any Human Face on Saturday, 3 July, at The Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill, London. Even better, I'll be accompanied by Forward shortlisted poet Simon Barraclough, for an Italian-themed evening. This is the cover of Simon's fine collection. I haven't added mine because I'm sure you're all more than familiar with it by now.
We'll be starting at 7 pm. There will be wine, possibly Italian, and snacks...
Forgive my absence. If this blog were a different kind of open book from the one it is, I'd have a lot to tell, but, post-Diana, and unfashionably, I've opted for discretion. Which means that all I'm using it for at the moment is the most fleeting self-promotion. For anyone who'd like to see some translations of the poetry of Jean Genet that I committed, with adolescent hubris, many years ago, I recommend the third number of the always-excellent Cambridge Literary Review, just out, and worth considerably more than the cover price. You can find out more about it here.
I've just discovered that Amazon knows - and registers - whenever Kindle users highlight a passage on their Kindles, and it reminded me of something I saw many years when John Wilkinson and I were on a walking (actually, hitch-hiking) tour of western Scotland and the Hebrides. We were holed up in the north-westernmost youth hostel of the British Isles, a stone's throw from Cape Wrath. Among the other hostellers was a fierce-browed woman with a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's collected stories. She was reading the book with a red pen in her hand and, every now and again, with a stifled grunt, she'd ring something in the text. When she left the room, presumably to pee, I couldn't resist. I sneaked a look to see what she'd been marking.
I dropped the book immediately, as though scalded. The word she'd ringed, over and over, with a heavy hand, was BLOOD.
I can't be the only person who remembers that wonderful, exhilarating, fuck-you-all moment from a documentary on Louise Bourgeois when the interviewer, appalled, watches the artist smash a sculpture he'd, inappropriately in her opinion, praised. I've just found out about her death from Baroque in Hackney's typically astute post. I hope to find some time before too long to add a few words myself.