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This report is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

From the Journals
of R.F. Langley
R.F. Langley
The poet R. F. Langley (1938–2011) was also, privately, a prolific prose writer. Extracts from his journals, which he started in 1969, first appeared in PNR in 2002, and a selected volume, Journals, was published by Shearsman in 2007. The notes to Carcanet’s recent edition of Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse. This is the first in a new series of extracts that will appear in coming issues of PNR, transcribed by Noel-Tod and published with the permission of the Langley Estate.

3rd March 2006

There has been plenty of new building in Rendlesham, whole estates of it. The pager said ‘off Fountains Road’, and that is a long road with new housing all the way. The ‘rough ground’ turns out to be a football-pitch-sized piece in the corner of the way leading to Avocet Mews. It is surrounded with ten-foot metal mesh fencing and a notice says ‘Demolition Site’ and requests the wearing of hard hats. But the demolition is over. The ground is lumpy with piled flints in sticky, ochre-coloured, clayey soil, broken concrete, curling lengths of blue piping. There are patches of upstanding, dead weeds, knee-high, pale, stiff, dry… shrivelled mugwort gone black, the remnants of plantains and thistles. Various trees stand about amongst adjacent gardens and in plots by pavements – a chopped, ancient oak, only a trunk with stubs. Sparrows dust bath at its foot. Alder. One with wriggled twigs like corkscrew willow ...

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