Book cover for Poetry Notebook

Poetry Notebook



22 September 2016
256 pages
Imprint: Picador


The material was well worth collecting . . . entertaining . . . His hand has not lost its cunning
Clive James's Poetry Notebook reintroduced me to the intense pleasures of close reading. Although he has some hard - and funny - things to say about Ezra Pound, James is firmly committed to celebration. He reminds us that poetry is, or can be, "the most exciting thing in the world". And this is what literary criticism, and literary pedagogy, should aim for: not to add a further encrustation of complexity, but simply to instil the readerly habits of gratitude and awe
I read Clive James's Poetry Notebook standing by my poetry wall to save getting up and down, and my wall turned out to be just railings
The book, although necessarily heterogeneous, stands as a whole as a manifesto to an essential faith in the force and beauty of language, especially language wrought to a high intensity by the shaping power of the poet. . .Few contemporary critics display the passionate commitment to the idea of poetry, and to the idea of poetry's centrality to civilized life, that James does