Author, editor and musician Ken Edwards' blog and personal website.
Back in the day...
Just out from Shearsman Books: CLASP: late modernist poetry in London in the 1970s, which Robert Hampson edited with my help. Twenty-three contributors who just about remember the Seventies put their penn'orths in. The cover shows the redoubtable Paula Claire, who performed with Bob Cobbing and others. Available now from Shearsman or orderable from all good bookshops if any such are left.
In preparation for the twice postponed (because of Covid) trip to India Elaine and I had long planned, I read Kipling's The Jungle Book (Vols 1 & 2). Never read Kipling before, I have to admit. My reading was prompted because the location of the Mowgli stories in the book is precisely where we were headed: the forests of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Actually Kipling had never been there; though born in India, he was shipped back to England by his parents at the age of six to go to school, then returned to Northern India in his early 20s. He relied heavily on folk tales repeated by his father. It has to be said that, for all its merits and demerits (it's quite uneven but has some wonderful writing in parts), it is not a particularly accurate guide to the flora and fauna of Madhya Pradesh. It is of course quite unlike the Disney film. If you've seen that, or dare I say read the book, which is quite out of fashion, you will recognise some names of species. Baloo the b
Pussy willow catkins are out everywhere as E and I go for a lovely walk this morning at Dungeness RSPB bird reserve. The visitors' centre is closed, but the reserve is open to the public, and there are a few other couples, single people and small family groups wandering around - friendly greetings from a distance being the order of the day. Greylag and Brent geese and many ducks are about, but the highlight of the morning is a stoat crossing our path. Only the second time I've seen one, I think.
[CONTAINS SPOILERS!] The novel that came to be called Secret Orbit had a long gestation which would be too tedious to detail. For years I’d had a perhaps not very original perhaps pretentious notion of writing my own Divine (secular) Comedy: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. All three parts were to be set in different versions of London. Secret Orbit was once the title of another associated project, but eventually came to be allocated (initially as a working title) to the part of the trilogy that represented Hell. Of course, Hell is always the most fun to write. The title stuck, and the novel got written. Like the other half-written novels in the sequence, it is structured in 33 chapters, mirroring the cantos of Dante’s original (there are actually coded references to the mirrored canto in each chapter, though I’ve forgotten what some of them are). The framing device is a description of the stages of decomposition of the unnamed protagonist’s body as he lies in his London fla