The publication of Clive James's Sentenced to Life was a major literary event. Facing the end, James looked back over his life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty to produce his finest work: poems of extraordinary power that spoke to our most elemental emotions. Injury Time is its outstanding successor.
'James's confrontation with his approaching death is nothing short of inspirational' – Joan Bakewell, Independent
With more time on the clock than he had anticipated, Clive James was all the more determined to use it wisely – to capture the treasurable moment, and think about how best to live his remaining days – while the sense of his own impending absence grew all the more powerfully acute.
In a series of intimate poems – from childhood memories of his mother, to a vision of his granddaughter in graceful acrobatic flight – James declares 'family' to be our greatest blessing. He also writes beautifully of the Australia where he began his life, and where he hopes to 'reach the end'.
Throughout Injury Time, James weaves poems which reflect on the consolation and wisdom to be found in the art, music and books which have become ever more precious to him in his last years.
Moving, inspirational and unsentimental, Injury Time is as accomplished as any of his works; even at the end, he was in the form of his life.
Clive James (1939–2019) was a broadcaster, critic, poet, memoirist and novelist. His acclaimed poetry includes the collection Sentenced to Life and a translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy, both Sunday Times bestsellers. His passion for and knowledge of poetry are distilled in his book of criticism on the subject, Poetry Notebook, and, written in the last year of his life, his personal annotated anthology of favourite poems, The Fire Of Joy.
Praise for Clive James:
'He will be seen, I think, as one of the most important and influential writers of our time' – Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
'Wise, witty, terrifying, unflinching and extraordinarily alive' – A.S. Byatt, critic and author of Possession: A Romance
'Clive James is a true poet' – Peter Porter, London Review of Books
James's confrontation with his approaching death is nothing short of inspirational
Joan Bakewell, Independent
Injury Time heads the latest/last collection of his poems, which are rightly heralded as 'a major literary event'. Though the title’s sporting metaphor is characteristic, it has very little to do with 'sport'. The poems are as widely ranging and inventive as ever, both in their form and their content. They range daringly from a splendidly substantial celebration of the deaf Beethoven to various self-revealing meditations on his own carcinoma. The latter can be admired at full strength in 'Night-Walkers Song', but his playful wit and imagination are as ever wonderfully varied
Katherine Duncan-Jones, Times Literary Supplement
A fresh volume of poetry describing the joys of the bonus years the great polymath has been given by medicine, determination and love