I have been reading W.S.Graham’s letters in ‘The Nightfisherman:Selected Letters. Carcanet’ which is an amazing insight into the mind of a poet at work – and at drink and in permanent condition of losing roof, needing money and searching for recognition and then questioning it when at last it comes. What is exciting is the way in which the poems arise in the context of the letters – you can catch the thread and then find the poem in the ‘Collected’ – its an interesting and motivating way of accesssing what are often quite difficult poems. I start to think like him some mornings – until the domestic or the outside drive thoughts away. This morning read this in a letter to Robin Skelton (1974). ‘The idea of a long poem is so exciting because things can happen and ways of speaking can occur in it which would not be in a literary object of lesser dimension’. Looking at this again as I write it out I am astonished at what it conveys and think, again, of my efforts to write a long poem Ha Noi 2000 which have been put on hold because the immediate but less important is currently holding the front of my mind and doing. The notice board is empty and waiting and I find, oh the pleasure of this, that W.S. too had a big notice board on which he spread out current work – perhaps I’m cracking this now! It has been encouraging to have comments from known and unknown people – it seems a privilege to have that contact. The thing about W.S. which really resonates with me is the ‘hippy’ context of the sixties and seventies in West Cornwall which is so familiar from my time living in Heligan. Familiar names, happenings, the whiff of Mary Jane, impromptu music happenings, songs, sky and sea – it all brings back memories, like sand discovered amongst the sheets next day after the visit to the beach. If you glance into happengs you will find what has been keeping me from writing – but these crafty activities have been hugely enjoyable – stretching different kinds of muscles and allowing different thoughts to flow – also nice to think about little grandchildren I miss a bit now and then. A new great grandchild, Isaac, arrived last Wednesday – his brother Oscar didn’t sound greatly impressed when I talked to him on the phone. Things arriving, greeted with language that makes them real, even when we can’t see or touch them – it’s a wonderful thing.
Monthly Archives: December 2011