Michael Glover's Books
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Hypothetical May Morning
This is Michael Glover's most wide-ranging and accomplished collection of poetry to date.
On the surface, Michael Glover's poems can be lightsome and almost casually, if not beguilingly, playful and direct. But the playfulness can be a deception. Laughter dries on the tongue. There is often a terrible uncertainty about the speaking voice, and a darkness about the themes the poems are exploring – the sands are forever shifting.
This collection draws on a variety of themes and situations. The Quinoa Cake Recipe emerges from, and is a response to, long summer stays in Canada. Notes to Harris is a series of short poems in which one North American friend addresses another with a wry casualness. Under the Influence, a homage to the director John Cassavetes, spoken by a male character from a typical Cassavetes film, wayward and anguished: 'I am a raging bull of a man. I pulverise everything I look at.'
"I've been enjoying your poems very much : intriguing, intricate and always inventive. Such astute attention to detail often containing small revelations. Measured but full of surprises; confident, assured lines that engage but also leave room to ruminate. A rich and rewarding collection."
- David Charleston, Poet
Playing Out in the Wireless Days
In this poignant sequel to Headlong into Pennilessness, Sheffield-born Michael Glover, poet and art critic, re-visits the scenes of his childhood and teenage years in and around Fir Vale.
He remembers the death of the Sunbeam Cinema, and how it disappeared in a pother of brick dust. He sees again the tramps from the tramps’ ward, hurrying down Herries Road in pursuit of a warm sleeping spot in the Reference Room of Firth Park Library. He watches his mother at her exasperating daily ritual of putting her hair into pink curlers to the general indifference of the entire family, who all co-exist, somehow, in that hot little kitchen in Coningsby Road, site of perpetual warfare between snapping relatives, as the homework gets down, somehow, on the kitchen table covered in its slippery oil cloth.
Michael brings characters to life with humour and affection, and reflects on the inevitability of change and breaking free from family ties.
Why should children have all the picture books? Artworks by Ruth Dupré complement beautifully the verse and prose of Michael Glover in this book you will want to possess for the sheer sake of possession, as much as for the journey it will take you on. It is the story of a woman losing her grip on a life well lived, as past and present meld with real and imagined. The words convey mood like an adagio; images appear in your head as though through a fine gauze. You will feel you have learned something important by the end.
Messages to Federico
The great Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca was assassinated by Franco's Falangists in an orchard outside Granada in 1936. This book of poems by Glover is a lament for his death and a tribute to his extraordinary lyrical gifts, as spoken by his imagined lover.
It conjures, fleetingly, poignantly, the irrepressible gusto of Lorca's life: his gifts as a pianist, the dancing humour of his poetry for children, the street life of his beloved Granada, his brutal and incomprehensible death. Above all, it interrogates Death itself for its bewildering decision to snatch him away at the height of his powers.
"I can’t think what possessed you to set out on so quixotic a journey, but you seem to have arrived at a kind of poetic justice for Lorca. That is to say, you have bestowed upon him the lover he never had.
I think of him in those intense Granada years, thronging with avant-garde musicians and poets and gypsies, falling in love with one or another of them but never to his fulfilment. It must have been agony being Lorca, tormented by his sexuality and rebuffed in his passion for Dalí and Perojo... And in truth it would have been a dreadful agony being a lover of Lorca’s if he ever really had such a one.
Not that the lover you’ve found for him is particularly erotic; but rather a disembodied interlocutor or ideal muse who is speaking gently to Lorca’s ghost in a distant Elysium where literary heroes are crowned with true fame. That is a perfectly reasonable convention.
Even the brutal injustice of his death is curiously refined by your tribute. It occurs to me that the refinement of Lorca’s murder is in the tradition of martyrdoms - of the crucifixion itself - where the painter must choose to depict either the carnal agony or the transcendental meaning.
What seem to me the best of your Lorca poems address the oddity of your whole project: intimate yet decorous; affectionate yet disconcerting."
- John Birtwhistle, Poet.
The Book of Extremities is a unique piece of writing: dark and haunting, making you question the nature of fiction, alongside beautiful photographs juxtaposed with the text. The author purports to have put the text together from a collection of fragments of a French priest's emotional outpourings, found on separate pieces of paper.
This new collection brings together the best of Michael's Sheffield poems in one book – some of them were written many years ago, the last of them turned up very recently. That is how it is with poems. They just turn up – like uninvited guests. Or like old friends. How fresh the past comes to seems as you grow into your life! Almost more vividly present than the present itself, which can be a little hazy and undependable by comparison.
Photographs of Sheffield life accompany the poems.
There is always a moment – it comes to all of us, irrespective of race, class, religion and all the other what-nots – when you take someone aside and point out everything – everything that has gone wrong. And there is always so much of it, and it takes hours, days, of patient recitation, probably from a book, because it is far too long and involved – like a twisty rope, left out too long in the rain, behind the house, you know it, you have seen it with your own eyes – to commit to memory, even for an old hand such as myself. You completely and utterly exhaust yourself in the doing, you end up speechless, breathless, spent. I do anyway. One cannot walk away from one’s nature.
In this monologue of a mind's slow dying, an actor, man of abundant words, faces his final audience: of himself. It is a face that he barely recognises through the mist of his own tragic decline...
This volume contains the original French text plus an exciting new translation by poet Michel Glover. It is not a translation in the truest sense - where word for word it is changed from one language to another. It is more a translation of the meaning insofar as that is ever possible, an attempt to capture the emotion, of one poet talking to another across the centuries. A valuable resource for any student of Rimbaud.