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Sarments: New and Selected Poems

Sarments: New and Selected Poems

ISBN: 9781848615786
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"This collection is an essential delight; a 'book resonant of a life / neither following nor in pursuit', gathering old and new work all equally fresh. As the epigraph to the first poem attests, 'one does not work out of a reaction against but rather out of affection for something.' Like Mayakovsky, John James has produced a body of work perfectly able to marry lyricism and coarseness, rage and tenderness - and, like the Futurist, to weld the aesthetic to the social. Here is that rarest poet: able to adequately respond to pleasure, and equally able to create it. The selection spans 50 years of work in all its subtlety of tone and address - a hybrid of a Welsh 'praise' tradition, playfully mannered English reserve, and New York School exuberance. This is a poetry deftly attuned to various musics, overtly engaged with the visual arts, yet just as happy out in the streets at home and abroad - and more than partial to a walk in the countryside. The poems of the last decade are singular in their 'reach toward the poetry of kindred / where we speak in our work as we seldom do otherwise.' Embrace this New and Selected James: here is an effervescent poetry that can leave nobody indifferent." --Simon Perril

"James is decidedly un-English in his love of French and German poetry, in his unembarrassed (and unembarrassing) celebration of the pleasures of the flesh, and in his Marxist and republican politics - which seem to legitimate a taste for the finer things on the grounds of international solidarity against a British suppression of the capacity for joy ... John James is one of the great sensualists of twentieth-century lyric poetry." --John Wilkinson

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