Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paul Evans, THE DOOR OF TALDIR (Selected Poems)

A brief personal tribute, and my review of this posthumous Selected of Paul Evans (1945-1991), was published by Rupert Loydell @

The poems for this collection were chosen by Robert Sheppard, who also writes a decent enough introduction. The publisher is Tony Frazer (Shearsman Books).

Unfortunately, none of the poems Paul was writing during the last five years of his life are included in this rather small Selected, and the editor waffles on some, rationalizing why he didn't include an earlier poem,  "Dark &" in this text.

However, the book, despite its failures, and the omission of the last poems, gets my highest possible recommendation since all of Evans' other published books are out-of-print. 

In his essay "Paul Evans: A Book, Two Meetings And A Dream" published in THE EMPTY HILL (memories and praises of Paul Evans), edited by Peter Bailey and Lee Harwood, Skylark Press, 1992, Ian Robinson writes: "The light of his personality has gone, of course, but the light from the poems he wrote shines on: they shed a light over those of us who are left."

Here are two lyrics not included in the Selected, the first a "Poem improvised on the back cover of O.I.N.C." is dedicated to Lee Harwood, his good friend, and published in the final issue of Branch Redd Review (2002).

What's that
pale splotch
seen from a train

forty-five p.m.
to London (again)

I swear
I almost caught
the last primrose
of late spring.
He did
right smack
down the lens
of a shining periscope

the large
next to me
in the buffet-car
with "sensitive

ah Lee this is not
the Brighton Belle
I'm not a tripper
and my heart's not here

there goes a bluebell wood

Life, it is true
has not turned out
as I expected

the second poem is titled "let me explain (courtesy of Thomas De Quincey) (1834)"

"it is a great misfortune, at least it is a great peril, to have tasted the enchanted cup of youthful rapture incident to the poetic temperament. That standard of highly-wrought sensibility once made human experientially, it is rare to see a submission afterwards to the sobrieties of daily life."

yes, purple and impassioned
prose! it is to you I turn
to lose my tedious self
as in a mist (footsteps
of Leon Janacek I adore)

as in the mist
through which, one dawn
the soft body of
the Downs came clear

and in the hollow
east of Clayton
that white house appeared

glimmering there
in a light
I knew would spill
if I should breathe

And so I breathed
destroying as I must
the shape of everything
I love