Saturday, January 27, 2007

I've survived my first week back at work after an 8-week period of illness (disturbingly, my longest period off work for over 20 years) during which I had plenty of time to read, among other things, the parables and short stories of Borges with its conundrums and alternative worlds, and the poetry of Lee Harwood and John Ashbery. Harwood's work has a gentleness that I found easy and restful. As for Ashbery's poetry, I have to be in the right mood to read it - but in the right mood, there's no-one better. When I was ill I found it soothing - the complete absence of any kind of hectoring or dogmatic tone, the gently entertaining whimsy, the meanderings of the longer poems. I was also sustained my my continuing email correspondence with an American friend, the poet John Bloomberg-Rissman, with whom I've been swapping emails on poetry, poets and much else for 3 or 4 years now.

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