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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

from On the Lookout C.H. Sisson
The poems I wrote in my later thirties I put in a drawer. Perhaps if I had had literary friends who were interested in these things, and knew how they were published, I should have published them, or been tempted to write more on being informed that I was a poet. As it was, however, I remember saying to myself that if they were any good they would keep. They came at considerable intervals and were short, so they did not make great demands on house-space nor indeed have to be thought about very much by anyone. It was only after several years that I began to hanker after putting them on the record, in some form. I made approaches to a publisher-bookseller, himself a poet; my letter said, to the best of my recollection, that it was not that I had ideas above my station about being a poet (this was not irony but awe) but that there were, so to speak, a few pensées which I should like to set down. The arrangement was made; my poet-publisher thought, rather to my surprise, that these few pensées were not bad. I corrected the galley proofs in high expectation. Then absolutely nothing happened. I will not trouble you with the hypotheses I formed to account for this lacuna. Meanwhile I went on setting down my few pensées as they came, until there were a few pages more for the record, but still no record for them to appear on. Since I ...


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