I’ve long been fond of the poet Clive James, though he is not necessarily known for being a poet. In his native Britain, he is a TV celebrity, radio host, critic, and novelist. But it is his poetry that endears James to me, and to many others. His biting humor, sense of the absurd in ordinary life, and willingness to “tell it like it is” make him one of my ultimate favorites.
Now comes a collection of his poetry, Opal Sunset, which features wonderful old standards and exciting new works from James. Even if you don’t like poetry, Opal Sunset has something that will speak to you. One of my personal James favorites is again offered in this collection. It’s titled “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered” and it is so dead-on funny because of its wicked honesty and its wry look at the business side of writing.
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a vanload of counterfeit that has been seized.
There isn’t a writer alive who can’t relate to this. I dedicate it to my favorite hack JA, with much love and well-wishes. Not.
Clive James manages to speak directly about those things which many of us prefer to sweep beneath the rug. He openly acknowledges those uncomfortable feelings that we’d much rather ignore. And he does this with a dry, British wit and an eye toward the smirking face of those who get it.
Have a giggle on me today!