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Collected Later Poems

Christopher Middleton

Cover of Collected Later Poems by Christopher Middleton
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • A moment captured strikes you unawares
    but grows a form gradually in afterthought

    from ‘Eurydice Perceived’
    August Kleinzahler says, ‘Christopher Middleton is, and remains, a shocking man. One hardly knows where to begin...’ There are few risks Middleton will not take in his poems. For six decades and more he has uncovered new dimensions in language. The last decade has been one of continuous discovery and extension. His English is an open medium, responding to Arabic, German, Spanish, French and other media. And English is eloquent in its nonsense as much as in its sense. His poems do not linger in the dank alleyways of self: he is always a maker and a shaper, of things that become durable resources for the reader, that refine and extend how we think, see and feel through formed language.

    All quotations from the Bow-Wow Shop’s ‘Tributes to Christopher Middleton’,, 2013
    The Tenor on Horseback

    For Preface a Lacuna
    The Part of Gravity
    The Poem Lost
    Body Count
    A Pair of Herons
    A Sonnet of Nice Goats
    This Confidence
    The Tenor on Horseback
    Metapontum: The Necropolis
    Saying Goodnight to Kate
    The First Portrait
    The Aquinas Anecdote
    Imagine Mallarmé
    Chekhov at Sumy
    Chekhov in a Park
    Judge Bean
    Felo de se
    The Whelk
    Ancient Emigré (Irish)
    Elegy with Offenbach
    Pictogram for a Maquisard
    Election Eve in the Lord’s Republic
    Against Frenzy
    A Paper Snake
    The Wine Merchant’s Secret
    The Incident
    Whatever Moves
    The Wind-Chimes
    Small Change, AD 147–8
    The Brink
    Homily with Reeds
    The Third Man Reconsidered
    A Demon Sniggering
    A Happy Captain
    Of Adverse Atmospheres 50
    From the Cat 51
    Exile (from the French of Léon-Paul Fargue)
    In Memory of W.G. Sebald 56

    Poems 2006–2009

    The Enjoyment of Shouting

    Artist Unknown
    The Dance Itself
    The Strategy of Apanea
    Among Egyptian Cenobites
    A Longer Wind
    The Very Capable Waitress
    A Grackle with a Greek Motif
    The Veil
    From Rilke (March 1924)
    The Holly Branch
    Lyric of the Dove
    Goonhilly Downs (1939)
    Memorabilia of February 9, 2008
    Samuel Palmer’s Ghost Goes Scavenging
    A Symbolist
    The Inventor
    The Victorian Photo
    Daubigny’s Mill
    In a Hammock between Trees
    From Doctor Clown
    At 80
    Of the Belovèd Someone
    Savanna Rose
    Some Birds
    Among Events Unreported
    The Boy and the Piano
    Some Remaining Masonry
    An Apparition
    Poem Forty-Four
    The Old French Wine Glass
    Homage to Alkan
    The Pepper Brandy
    The Enjoyment of Shouting
    Vestigios de España
    The Vine that Lost its Elm
    The Laundress
    From Georg Trakl
    In Slow Motion
    Phantom Caravan
    Byzantium Revisited
    Another Melancholy

    Slight Poems

    Prologue: Ask Herodotus
    An Exercise in Direct Discourse
    A Spider’s Web Caught in Amber
    Being There
    On Ceasing to Perceive
    A Postcard from Alexandria 1908
    Update on the Phrygian Mode
    A Stuffed Shirt
    The Saint Preaches to the Birds
    The Moonshine
    In Old Houses
    Roughly Thus was the Beauty of Certain Facts Delineated
    What the Hedgehog Said, A.D. 360
    The View Back from Whirling Weathervanes
    Not Forgotten
    Like the Words Above their Ink
    When out of Heaven (Friedrich Hölderlin)
    Remembering White Chickens
    On the Eve of Independence Day
    The Four Curios
    Seniority (2)
    The Halving of France
    Feuilleton 10: Rather Vague About Vienna


    Old School Remembered
    In Memory of the Great Edward FitzGerald (1809–83)
    History of the Hat

    For Want of an Axiom

    Old Dunwich / In Writing, Memory
    Reminiscence Remembered
    In the American Park
    The Murmur of Erasmus
    How Blacktop Burned Beethoven
    Overheard in the Agora
    Leo III Iconoclast
    Vasily Kalinnikov Composes
    Variation on Orhan Veli Kanık’s Poem about Listening to Istanbul
    Two Poems of Love
    Alt-Hermannstadt / Bukovina
    Lonesome Toper, Busy Barmaid
    Like Heart’s Desire
    Sonnet of Irreconcilables
    Figure of Relation, the Part of Speech
    A Parable for Rembrandt
    Banality Overwhelming
    You Did Not Wake Up
    A Dainty Shopper
    Of Sympathy
    The Shorter Breath
    The Night
    On the Road from Van Kure to Urga
    Variation on Prose by Rudolf Kassner
    The Ragged Verses

    A Company of Ghosts


    The Space of the Mandarin Duck
    The Halcyons Flew Out to Sea
    Homily Creek
    A Kinglet
    The Avocet
    For the Birthday of John Keats in 1795


    Whispers of Rumi
    The Pendulum Stilled
    Apropos The Golden Ass
    A True Tale of the Anecdotes Improvised by Villiers de L’Isle-Adam
    For Shuntaro Tanikawa 

    A Saddle for Daedalus
    Faux-Naif: The Reverie
    Russia and Holland
    The Legend of St. Jerome
    A Tarahumara Jug
    An Archaic Greek Vase Painting


    During The Aftermath


    The Touch of Autumn before Evensong
    From a Family Album
    The Enchanted Scrivener 2
    Into the Clay
    The Game of Conkers


    A Tulip Tree
    Of Music from a Sunken System
    Of Imminence
    The Trojan Philanderer
    Mother by the Lake 2
    The Desolation


    A Testimony for the Deaf
    Juniperus Americanus
    The Leveret
    The Substance Having Uncertain Signs


    The Devil’s Innocence

    9 (For the Crows)

    Arp’s Arcs
    Household Conversation
    A Newcomer in the Small Port

    Just Look at the Dancers

    Eleven Canticles

    A Difference of Degree
    Boy with a Long Pale Face
    The Messengers
    Editorial for the Snail
    O fons Bandusiae
    Early Ionian
    From the Grotto


    Not to Rhyme
    John Clare to his Muse
    In Living Memory
    The Poem of 2 a.m.
    Nursing a Wound on Blue Heron Island
    Over Low Thresholds Turning
    The Lakeshore in Springtime
    Of the Pigeon that Spoke not a Word
    On a Poem by Kurahara Shinjiro
    Tiepolo: Study of a Child
    All Over for Falstaff
    The Jerbil
    The Gnats
    The Wren’s Oration
    Cypress by the Stairway
    Petition for a Joint Passport
    Café Pamparigousto
    The Music Come and Gone
    Reconocimiento a J.L.B.
    An Earthwork: The Devil’s Dyke
    The Menander Fragment
    The Stained-Glass Gyroscope
    The Ride from Urga


    Monostichs 1
    Monostichs 2
    Monostichs 3
    Monostichs 4
    Monostichs 5
    Monostichs 6: Sequel to Monostichs 5
    Monostichs 7
    Monostichs 8
    Monostichs 9
    Monostichs 10
    Monostichs (Spurious)
    Monostichs 11
    Monostichs 12
    Monostichs 13
    Monostichs 14
    Monostichs (Spurious)
    Monostichs 15
    Monostichs 16
    Monostichs 17

    Forty Days in the Calypso Saloon

    1 From the Papers of Esteban Seferiades

    The Fig Tree
    Ivy and Ocean
    Orchards in Cappadocia
    The Living Bracelet
    Returning to Mycenae
    A Dolphin
    Theophany in Fener
    On the Lakeshore
    Esteban Seferiades Welcomes Longevity
    The Saintliest of Men


    Confusions 1: The Fable
    Oxford 1949
    A Walk from the Orangerie
    Mutual Aid
    Elegy: The Calypso Saloon
    In the Fossil Record
    Some Woodpeckers
    The Ghosting of Paul Celan
    Confusions 2: The Phantasm
    Embers, Not Entirely in the Manner of Jean Follain
    A Worm’s Theorem
    Triple Hiatus
    Leonardo da Vinci’s Cecilia Gallerani
    From the Distant Place


    A Winter Landscape, 1646
    A True Tale from Schwabing
    Of the Mistaken Mendicant
    The Spring Sunday
    A Hatful of Spectres
    A Pine Siskin
    Water at Not More than Six Feet
    Confusions 3: The Belief
    On Setting Out by Stagecoach for the Southwestern Territories
    Two Squibs

    Frescoes with Graffiti

    The Transfigured Don Juan
    Near Oblivion
    A Construction for Gnostics
    An Ephemerid
    Sacred King and Drunken Boat
    Homage to Renoir
    No Say
    A Bird Lantern
    Souvenir of Hamburg, 1946
    Near Lakenheath
    The Race Across the Quicksand
    From Our Imagery of Early Greeks
    Remembering Johannes Bobrowski (1917–65)
    Old Shrines
    ‘If From The Distance…’
    Go with Isaac Rosenberg
    Among Signs
    On the Futility of Pathos
    Poems Without a Subject
    Two Antiques
    On Two Strips of Parchment
    Items in a Showcase
    Rilke on the Street

    Three Translations

    Prometheus Saxifrage
    Claudius the God (Zbigniew Herbert)

    A Keeper of the Reliquary

    Two Poems Mistakenly Omitted from Collected Poems

    The Child at the Piano
    January 1919

    Three Tributes

    The Lost Elegy
    Gingo Biloba
    Excavated Poem


    The Path Long Overgrown
    Dilemma after a Serious Accident
    Our Rain Crow
    The Wicker Chair
    Fragment for a Lost Girl
    The Typesetter’s Visit to Cavafy
    Eurydice Perceived

    Index of Titles
    Index of First Lines
    Christopher Middleton, born in Cornwall in 1926, is a poet and translator, especially of German literature. He studied at Merton College, Oxford and held academic positions at the University of Zürich and King’s College London before becoming Professor of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas, Austin. He retired in ... read more
    'The poet's ancestry, his Englishness, is relegated without denial. But the movement, whether it is generated in America, Provence or Cappadocia, is always of encounter...if an eroticism, with the inner and the outer, a profound in-touchness with the multiplicities of existence... a mark of all important poets'
    Tom Lowenstein
    'Poems, translations, essays -€“ Christopher Middleton’s are among the most visited books on my shelves; always dependable for re-exciting the possibilities of language.'
    Jennie Feldman

    Praise for Christopher Middleton '€˜a poet with a disconcerting knack of making it new in almost every poem'
    John Lucas, New Statesman
    '€˜His work is at once rich and sparse, elegantly economic in its subtle shifts from discrete object to discrete object, yet, by contrast with mainstream English realism, striking for the boldness and brio of its imaginings.'
    Terry Eagleton, Stand
    'Metrically inventive and various, these poems are remarkably alive to "€œthe unknown thing beside us"€, they listen for "the due sound"€, and, as if watching birds, register "€œthe timed flight of words". A motto for reading Middleton'€™s work might be: purify the source, then trust to luck.'
    Denis Donoghue, London Review of Books
    'Middleton is amongst the most consistently inventive, original, and audacious of the so-called '€˜experimental' or '€˜innovative'€™ poets of these past twenty-five years.'
    August Kleinzahler, Threepenny Review
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