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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.
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).
A love letter from one of the world's most critically acclaimed 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.
'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. 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 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 was one of our finest critics and best-loved cultural voices. He was 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 was nothing less than the occupation of a lifetime, and in this book Poetry Notebook, he presents a distillation of everything he 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 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. His other poetry collections include Collected Poems, Angels Over Elsinore and Injury Time.
Over a period of fifteen years Clive James learned French by almost no other method than reading A la recherche du temps perdu. Then he spent half a century trying to get up to speed with Proust's great novel in two different languages. Gate of Lilacs is the unique product of James's love and engagement with Proust's eternal masterpiece. With A la recherche du temps perdu, Proust, in James's words, 'followed his creative instinct all the way until his breath gave out', and now James has done the same. In Gate of Lilacs, James, a brilliant critical essayist and poet, has blended the two forms into one. I had always thought the critical essay and the poem were closely related forms . . . If I wanted to talk about Proust's poetry beyond the basic level of talking about his language - if I wanted to talk about the poetry of his thought - then the best way to do it might be to write a poem. In the end, if A la recherche du temps perdu is a book devoted almost entirely to its author's gratitude for life, for love, and for art, this much smaller book is devoted to its author's gratitude for Proust.
Clive James's reputation as a poet has become impossible to ignore. His poems looking back over his extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty, such as 'Japanese Maple' (first published in the New Yorker in 2014), became global news events upon their publication. In this book, James makes his own rich selection from over fifty years' work in verse: from his early satires to these heart-stopping valedictory poems, he proves himself to be as well suited to the intense demands of the tight lyric as he is to the longer mock-epic. Collected Poems displays James's fluency and apparently effortless style, his technical skill and thematic scope, his lightly worn erudition and his emotional power; it undoubtedly cements his reputation as one of the most versatile and accomplished writers.
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