Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Matthew Welton’s poem ‘South Korea and Japan 2002’ (in ‘We needed coffee but . . .’), structured according to the World Cup timetable of fixtures in that year, offers itself as a kind of I Ching for anyone interested in the result of the game tomorrow and and the ones thereafter. Here’s a couple of the final group-stage games:

‘As we idle out the evening in this overcrowded den of iniquity, there’s this feeling we get in the belly like something being offered for franchise.’

‘Trying to describe the parakeets in the trees at the zoological park, we begin to see something slovenly and sad in the leaves drying out in the grass.’

Also bought yesterday, a second-hand ancient Penguin whose author, according to the mini-biog, ‘specialised in derailing trains’ for the Resistance in France and wrote his first book while ‘cut off in an isolated house from all outside contacts and armed to the teeth’. On page 23 one of the characters, a poet, says this: ‘I seldom read what people generally call novels these days. When I do, it isn’t for the plot (thrillers are better), or for the characters (those in the newspapers have more depth to them), but for the author, his reflections, his style, what his book tells me about him.’

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