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Poetry Break

The late Clive James, from his final book The Fire of Joy, out tomorrow:

My understanding of what a poem is has been formed over a lifetime by the memory of the poems I love; the poems, or frag­ments of poems, that got into my head seemingly of their own volition, despite all the contriving powers of my natural idleness to keep them out. I discovered early on that a scrap of language can be like a tune in that respect: it gets into your head no matter what. In fact, I believe, that is the true mark of poetry: you remember it despite yourself.

And here’s James, reading his transcendent “Japanese Maple,” written after he was diagnosed with leukemia.



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