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Clive James is the author of more than twenty books, including collections of essays, literary and television criticism, travel writing, novels and verse, plus his famous ‘unreliable memoirs’. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.
The BBC Radio 4 series A Point of View has been on the air since 2007. Over the years, it's had a variety of presenters including the national treasure that is Clive James talking for ten minutes about anything and everything that has captured their imagination, piqued their interest, raised their blood pressure or just downright incensed them that week.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2009. Costa Book Awards 2009 Judges' comment: "Beautifully written, intelligent, full of ideas clearly communicated and feelings perfectly encapsulated - these are proper poems with musical structure that are clever, moving and memorable." Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 4 December 2008. Clive James is well know as a TV presenter and writer of prose but not everyone knows he has written poetry. Here in his third anthology he brings together poems written over the last five years. Definitely worth a look if you are a fan of Clive as these poems show his same inimitable style and charm.
A love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets. Clive James is a life-long admirer of the work of Philip Larkin. Somewhere Becoming Rain gathers all of James's writing on this towering literary figure of the twentieth century, together with extra material now published for the first time. The greatness of Larkin's poetry continues to be obscured by the opprobrium attaching to his personal life and his private opinions. James writes about Larkin's poems, his novels, his jazz and literary criticism; he also considers the two major biographies, Larkin's letters and even his portrayal on stage in order to chart the extreme and, he argues, largely misguided equivocations about Larkin's reputation in the years since his death. Through this joyous and perceptive book, Larkin's genius is delineated and celebrated. James argues that Larkin's poems, adored by discriminating readers for over half a century, could only have been the product of his reticent, diffident, flawed, and all-too-human personality. Erudite and entertaining in equal measure, Somewhere Becoming Rain is a love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets.
Since its initial publication, Poetry Notebook has become a must-read for any lover of poetry. Somewhat of an iconoclast, Clive James gets to the heart of truths about poetry not always addressed, some hard but always firmly committed to celebration (Martin Amis). He presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. James examines the poems and legacies of a panorama of twentieth-century poets, from Hart Crane to Ezra Pound (a mad old amateur fascist with a panscopic grab bag ), from Ted Hughes to Anne Sexton. Whether demanding that poetry be heard beyond the world of letters or opining on his five favorite poets (Yeats, Frost, Auden, Wilbur, and Larkin), his generosity of attention, his willingness to trawl through pages of verse in search of the hair-raising line, is his most appealing quality as a critic (Adam Kirsch, Wall Street Journal).
'James's confrontation with his approaching death is nothing short of inspirational' Joan Bakewell, Independent The publication of Clive James's Sentenced to Life was a major literary event: critically acclaimed, it debuted at #2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. 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, following Sentenced to Life, finds James with more time on the clock than he had anticipated, and 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 grows 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. The poems in this moving, inspirational and unsentimental book are as accomplished as any he has ever written; indeed the unexpected gift of James's Injury Time shows him to be in the form of his life.
'One of the most important and influential writers of our time' Sunday Times Clive James has been close to death for several years, and he has written about the experience in a series of deeply moving poems. In Sentenced to Life, he was clear-sighted as he faced the end, honest about his regrets. In Injury Time, he wrote about living well in the time remaining, focusing our attention on the joys of family and art, and celebrating the immediate beauty of the world. At the opening of The River in the Sky, a book-length poem, we find James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him in his Cambridge house, his mind is free to roam. The River in the Sky takes us on a grand tour of `the fragile treasures of his life'. Animated by powerful recollections, James presents a flowing stream of vivid images. He moves from emotionally resonant personal moments, such as listening to jazz records with his future wife, to unforgettable encounters with all kinds of culture: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony sits alongside `YouTube's vast cosmopolis'. As ever with James, he shares his passions with enormous generosity, making brilliant and original connections, and fearlessly tackling the biggest questions: the meaning of life and how to live it. In the end, what emerges from this autobiographical epic is a soaring work of exceptional depth and overwhelming feeling, a new marvel for the modern age.
A world-renowned media and cultural critic offers an insightful analysis of serial TV drama and the modern art of the small screen Television and TV viewing are not what they once were-and that's a good thing, according to award-winning author and critic Clive James. Since serving as television columnist for the London Observer from 1972 to 1982, James has witnessed a radical change in content, format, and programming, and in the very manner in which TV is watched. Here he examines this unique cultural revolution, providing a brilliant, eminently entertaining analysis of many of the medium's most notable twenty-first-century accomplishments and their not always subtle impact on modern society-including such acclaimed serial dramas as Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, as well as the comedy 30 Rock. With intelligence and wit, James explores a television landscape expanded by cable and broadband and profoundly altered by the advent of Netflix, Amazon, and other cord-cutting platforms that have helped to usher in a golden age of unabashed binge-watching.
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 finds James with more time on the clock than he had anticipated, and 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 grows 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. The poems in this moving, inspirational and unsentimental book are as accomplished as any he has ever written; indeed the unexpected gift of James's Injury Time shows him to be in the form of his life.
The reputation of Clive James as a poet was slow to form, perhaps because he was too famous as a star journalist and television entertainer. There was also the drawback that his poetry was so entertaining it was hard for many critics to take seriously. But after the notoriety achieved by a single self-satirizing poem, 'The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered', one of the most anthologized poems of recent times, James's poetic output became impossible to ignore, and his 1985 collection Other Passports was greeted with praise for its thematic scope and technical accomplishment, even by critics who still doubted his seriousness. Since then, James has emerged unarguably as one of the most prominent poets of his generation - and The Book of My Enemy (which includes Other Passports) shows why.
From the man who made TV criticism an entertainment in its own right comes Visions Before Midnight, a selection from the column hundreds of thousands of devoted fans would turn to first thing on a Sunday morning. Clive James's comic brilliance is displayed here, from the 1972 Olympics (But your paradigm no-no commentary can't be made up of fluffs alone. It needs flannel in lengthy widths, and it's here that Harry and Alan come through like a whole warehouse full of pyjamas) to the 1976 Olympics ('Jenkins has a lot to do' was a new way of saying that our man, of whom we had such high hopes, was not going to pull out the big one). In between we have 'War and Peace' (Tolstoy makes television history), the Royal Wedding (Dimbling suavely, Tom Fleming introduced the scene), the Winter Olympics (unintelligibuhl), the Eurovision Song Contest (The Hook of their song lasted a long time in the mind, like a kick in the knee. You could practically hear the Koreans singing it. 'Waterloo . . .' ), and much more.
For the first time in one volume all Clive James's treasured TV criticism, originally written for The Observer between the years 1972 and 1982. From the 1972 Olympics to the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, here is a decade of the most trenchant, witty and thought-provoking criticism of any kind, with a foreword from Clive James himself, described as 'the funniest man in Britain'.
Clive James's unforgettable poetry collection, which gained him comparison to Byron and status as a 'true poet' demonstrates his wide range of interests and knowledge while never compromising his trademark wit and humour. Other Passports explores his lyrical style of poetry, alongside parodies, imitations and lampoons.
The final instalment in Clive James's collections of TV criticism in The Observer including pieces originally published between 1979 and 1982. Adding to an already unforgettable collection of comic brilliance, fans of Visions Before Midnight and The Crystal Bucket will not be disappointed.
A collection of Clive James's 'Postcards' originally written for The Observer between the years 1976 and 1983 about his experiences travelling abroad, from Peking, Los Angeles and Sydney. Full of James's distinctive wit and satire, this is a timeless collection for the well, and not so well travelled.
Brrm! Brrm! by Clive James is the hilarious story of Japanese high-flyer and would-be-diplomat Akira Suzuki who is sent to London for the first time to learn about a more cosmopolitan lifestyle but instead manages to make headlines for all the wrong reasons much to the embarrassment of the Japanese embassy.
Clive James is one of our finest critics and best-loved cultural voices. He is also a prize-winning poet. Since he was first enthralled by the mysterious power of poetry, he has been a dedicated student. In fact, for him, poetry has been nothing less than the occupation of a lifetime, and in this book Poetry Notebook, he presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. With his customary wit, delightfully lucid prose style and wide-ranging knowledge, James explains the difference between the innocuous stuff that often passes for poetry today and a real poem: the latter being a work of unity that insists on being heard entire and threatens never to leave the memory. A committed formalist and an astute commentator, he offers close and careful readings of individual poems and poets (from Shakespeare to Larkin, Keats to Pound), and in some case second readings or re-readings late in life - just to be sure he wasn't wrong the first time! Whether discussing technical details of metaphorical creativity or simply praising his five favourite collections of all time, he is never less than captivating.
In his insightful collection of poems Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age.
An esteemed literary critic shares his final musings on books, his children, and his own impending death In 2010, Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Deciding that if you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do, James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would live, read, and perhaps even write. James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list. A look at some of James's old favorites as well as some of his recent discoveries, this book also offers a revealing look at the author himself, sharing his evocative musings on literature and family, and on living and dying. As thoughtful and erudite as the works of Alberto Manguel, and as moving and inspiring as Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture and Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, this valediction to James's lifelong engagement with the written word is a captivating valentine from one of the great literary minds of our time.
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