Cavafy Gone Gothic


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These poems often rhyme, but never indulge in T S Eliot’s or Archbishop Rowan’s poetic obscurity, though they might perhaps have been a little less frank – they owe more to Browning’s personal narratives, Larkin and Betjeman’s sense of place. Written at the time, they offer a cheerfully homoerotic account of life in an enjoyably closed and mannered heterosexual College of Education in 1960s and ’70s Cheltenham – an English spa town of semi-Alexandrian decadence. Teaching school children can be fun, but training would-be teachers how to teach them is challenging – more like a drama school, as they have to be persuaded to perform their subjects seductively for reluctant audiences. So the poems range from racial comedy and conflict in the lecture room to attempted seduction in an American Greyhound Bus, tension on French roads and rehearsals of Byron’s Don Juan in a Regent’s Park terrace. The poems end with emotional frustration and resolution in the industrial wastelands of Enoch Powell’s Black Country. This is an honest account of the complications of affectionate lust in a very Establishment and officially Christian context – all very English. ISBN 978-1-906593-06-3 215mm x 138mm 64pp Softback