Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Poets and Poems: Clive James and “Injury Time”

Clive James (born 1939) found himself in something of an embarrassing predicament. He was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2010. After various prognoses, the doctors said he wouldn’t live past 2015. He wrote a poem for The New Yorker that predicted his death. He anticipated, and he prepared, as well as anyone might. He wrote a book of poetry about his imminent death, entitled Sentenced to Life.

And then he lived. The disease has affected him, but he continues to live. So, he wrote another book of poetry, Injury Time, comprised of 48 poems than range from thoughts of death to family, home, and even the French singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963).

The poems of Injury Time fall into the New Formalism poetry style. Among other things, that mean they rhyme and have a certain cadence and rhythm. James even capitalizes the first word of each line. But beyond the particular style, using a New Formalist writing style adds a certain dignity to the poems, a gravitas that is absent from free verse and other forms.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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