14 October, 2015
Went to see Alan Jenkins read from his new pamphlet, Paper Money Lyrics at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop, Oxford.
Very impressed with these poems. His usual honesty and lyricism matched by a lacerating look back at his past, and a reflective understanding tone that impressed me. I was also taken by his use of rhyme, something which I use and enjoy myself and which builds to a tour de force in his final poem, 'Inshore', which expresses the probably poor opinion our honourable, hard-working and serious ancestors must have of the easy and lax life of our affluent post-war generation.
Actually I think he's too hard on himself (and all of us). We baby boomers, brought up by people who were both traumatised and survived WW2, also grew up in a terrifying Cold War, with accompanying deadly proxy wars all over, and lived our way through two major revolutions --the technological revolution into the computer age, and the sexual revolution begun by birth control.
It was not all love and flower power -in fact very little of it was. It was bloody hard and confusing for most. And there were a lot of hurt and broken people, a lot of experimentation that didn't work, as well as those great steps forward that did, and changed humanity.
These poems show how we learned, understood, grew wiser, moved on. And the formal structures and rhyme suit that metaphysical movement in us all.
A good and enjoyable event.