There has been a bit in the press lately about the Costa Book of the Year winner Christopher Reid. Although Reid himself is no stranger to accolades, his first poetry collection, Arcadia won the Somerset Maugham award back in 1980. In 2007 he edited the Selected Letters of Ted Hughes by Faber and Faber and has published two collections of childrens poetry All Sorts and Alphabicycle Order amongst others. He is also cited along with Craig Raine as the founder of the ‘martian school’ of poetry which describes everyday objects in an off the wall manner.
A Scattering, is a book of poems dedicated to his late wife, actress Lucinda Gane, (Mrs Clooney in Grange Hill) who sadly died of cancer in 2005. A man writing out his grief.
The Guardian published one as their Saturday poem which I’ve copied here.
I know it’s impossible, but several times
I’ve heard her calling a greeting
Just as she used to, pitching it up
With her own distinctive spin of enquiry
From the first turn of the stairs, as she arrived home.
Once or twice I’ve been to check; mostly I haven’t.
I know she’s dead and I don’t believe in ghosts,
Nor that the house has been saving up
Old echoes as rationed treats and rewards.
It’s my brain, that’s all, turned whimsically ventriloquist.
I’m still taken in by its craftiness, its know-how.
With its psychotechnological sleight-of-sound, it does
What I can’t do: summon up
Her loved voice, perfect in pitch, timbre and inflection.
A variety turn – that never fails to give me a turn.
By Christopher Reid, Costa Book of the Year Winner. Published by Areté Books £7.99