Now limited to less than 100 First Edition copies, all signed by the poet.
Written during the summer lockdown, these poems tell a story of love and distance, the bond between tradition and modernity, and ultimately convey a message of hope.
In his foreword, Raymond Keene OBE writes, "Poems for Susan functions as an overview of the entire English tradition of poetic creation, in terms of varying style, rhythm, meter, rhyme and subject matter.
While poetry such as this can still be written, civilisation shall not sink, the great battle of the mind shall not be lost, and the rough beast will - along with the passionate intensity of the worst - finally be overcome".
Poems for Susan
It is said that Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain, is a critique of modern European thought, up until the time it was written of course. As with so many such sweeping critiques, The Marat Sade of Peter Weiss, Durrenmatts The Physicists or Pinter’s The Hothouse, it is set in an asylum, in this case an institution to heal the body , rather than the mind.
In the same way, Poems for Susan functions as an overview of the entire English tradition of poetic creation, in terms of varying style, rhythm, metre , rhyme and subject matter.
Primarily located in the bedrock of Baroque or Metaphysical verse, the poems resonate with the geographical fascination of Marlovian dragon rides, with the sonority of Shakespeare’s sonnets, with the elegiac solitude of an English country churchyard , the Romanticism of Byron and the Blakeian preoccupation with the microcosms and macrocosms of infinity.
Above all, paying homage to the curious paradox that many of the greatest English stylists are in fact Irish, the tone becomes dominated by the symbolic mysticism one associates with Yeats. And there are echoes of Eliot, Prufrock, The Wasteland, Four Quartets.
And as testament to the contemporary ring of the poems, framed by the centuries of tradition and homage, The Covid Crisis emerges as that rough beast, slouching towards our religious , cultural and political centres , to be born in a cataclysmic second coming.
And the most memorable lines, spanning the centuries from Nashe to the creating mind of the Long Legged Fly: “God’s return to Earth. Spirits fill the glade. Time is backward now. All things come to dust.”
While poetry such as this can still be written, civilisation shall not sink , the great battle of the mind shall not be lost, and the rough beast will, along with the passionate intensity of the worst, finally be overcome.
Ray Keene OBE