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What Was All the Fuss About?

Daniel Weissbort

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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Aug 1998)
£7.95 £7.16
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    Conkers, the polish still on them,
    remind me of that glorious moment
    when, behind the cricket pavilion,
    I found the earth strewn.
    For once I was first on the scene.

    Just before this I’d hit a six,
    stepping forward, clouting the ball,
    seeing it clear. Double figures!
    For the first time I was into double figures!

    And the war was over.


    Mr Wathen's Demise

    When in wartime the prep-school head changed my Jewish surname
    because it sounded German,
    we did not question his decision.

    That headmaster has long since met his end.
    His next-in-line but two or three
    pointed to the old man’s full-length portrait
    and told me how this happened.

    Mr W raised his brolly and strode
    confidently into the Finchley Road.

    Like Moses crossing the Red Sea, I thought.



    The bluffs are rusty with fall foliage,
    more and more trees come clean.
    A sense of accomplishment fills me, as I note
    how many didn’t make it, trees and folk.

    For the first time, I start to relax.
    Soon the snows will come.

    I’m in good shape.
    I throw back my shoulders,
    puff out my chest.

    Soon the snows will come!
    Soon the snows will come!

    In these taut, sharp poems written mainly in the 1990s, Daniel Weissbort has developed a new way of looking at himself and at the world. Experience, memory, dreams and ordinary life supply the poems with rich and varied subjects. The result is an alert, intelligent, open poetry whose surface lightness belies the power of its material. Plain yet intimate in tone, the poems work with the wit and concision of epigram.

    Daniel Weissbort was born in 1935. He read History at Cambridge and did postgraduate work in the politics of literature during the post-Stalin period. He has translated many modern Russian poets, including Nikolai Zabolotsky and Yunna Morits. He edited Ted Hughes: Selected Translations (2006). He is Emeritus Professor of English and ... read more
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