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Clive James Clive James i(A16255 works by) (a.k.a. Vivian Clive Leopold James)
Born: Established: 7 Oct 1939 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 24 Nov 2019 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
Expatriate assertion
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Works By

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1 3 y separately published work icon The Fire of Joy The Fire of Joy : Roughly Eighty Poems to Get by Heart and Say Aloud Clive James , London : Picador , 2020 20397850 2020 anthology poetry

'Clive James read, learned and recited poetry aloud for most of his life. In this book, completed before just before his death, he offers a selection of his favourite poems and a personal commentary on each.

'In the last months of his life, his vision impaired by surgery and unable to read, Clive James explored the treasure-house of his mind: the poems he knew best, so good that he didn’t just remember them, he found them impossible to forget. The Fire of Joy is the record of this final journey of recollection and celebration. Enthralled by poetry all his life, James knew hundreds of poems by heart. In offering this selection of his favourites, a succession of poems from the sixteenth century to the present, his aim is to inspire you to discover and to learn, and perhaps even to speak poetry aloud.

'In his highly personal anthology, James offers a commentary on each of the eighty or so poems: sometimes a historical or critical note on the poem or its author, sometimes a technical point about the poem’s construction from someone who was himself a poet, sometimes a personal anecdote about the role the poem played in his own life.

'Whether you’re familiar with a poem or not — whether you’re familiar with poetry in general or not — these chatty, unpretentious, often tender mini-essays convey the joy of James’s enthusiasm and the benefit of his knowledge. His urgent wish was to share with a new generation what he himself had loved. This is a book to be read cover to cover or dipped into: either way it generously opens up a world for our delight.' (Publication summary)

1 3 y separately published work icon Somewhere Becoming Rain : Collected Writings on Philip Larkin Clive James , London : Picador , 2019 18356862 2019 selected work essay 'A love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets.

'Clive James is a life-long admirer of the work of Philip Larkin. Somewhere Becoming Rain gathers all of James's writing on this towering literary figure of the twentieth century, together with extra material now published for the first time.

'The greatness of Larkin's poetry continues to be obscured by the opprobrium attaching to his personal life and his private opinions. James writes about Larkin's poems, his novels, his jazz and literary criticism; he also considers the two major biographies, Larkin's letters and even his portrayal on stage in order to chart the extreme and, he argues, largely misguided equivocations about Larkin's reputation in the years since his death.

'Through this joyous and perceptive book, Larkin's genius is delineated and celebrated. James argues that Larkin's poems, adored by discriminating readers for over half a century, could only have been the product of his reticent, diffident, flawed, and all-too-human personality.

'Erudite and entertaining in equal measure, Somewhere Becoming Rain is a love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets.' (Publication summary)
1 Clive James on His New Epic Poem : ‘The Story of a Mind Heading into Oblivion’ Clive James , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian , 1 September 2018;
1 4 y separately published work icon The River in the Sky Clive James , London : Picador , 2018 14707089 2018 selected work poetry

'Clive James has been close to death for several years, and he has written about the experience in a series of deeply moving poems. In Sentenced to Life, he was clear-sighted as he faced the end, honest about his regrets. In Injury Time, he wrote about living well in the time remaining, focusing our attention on the joys of family and art, and celebrating the immediate beauty of the world.

'When The River in the Sky opens, we find James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him at home, his mind is free to roam, and this long poem is animated by his recollection of what life was and never will be again; as it resolves into a flowing stream of vivid images, his memories are emotionally supercharged 'by the force of their own fading'. In this form, the poet can transmit the felt experience of his exceptional life to the reader.

'As ever with James, his enthusiasm is contagious; he shares his wide interests with enormous generosity, making brilliant and original connections, sparking passion in the reader so that you can explore the world's treasures yourself. Because this is not just a reminiscence, it's a wise and moving preparation for and acceptance of death. As James realizes that he is only one bright spot in a galaxy of stars, he passes the torch to the poets of the future, to his young granddaughter, and to you, his reader.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 Head Wound i "The carcinoma left a bullet hole", Clive James , 2017 single work poetry
— Appears in: The Best Australian Poems 2017 2017; (p. 93)
1 2 y separately published work icon Injury Time Clive James , London : Picador , 2017 11417425 2017 selected work poetry

'The publication of Clive James's Sentenced to Life was a major literary event. Facing the end, James looked back over his life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty to produce his finest work: poems of extraordinary power that spoke to our most elemental human emotions.

'Injury Time finds James in a similar mood. Keen to capture and cherish moments of beauty and love; thinking about how best to live in his remaining days; and casting his mind forward to when he will be gone and how he might be remembered. A series of intimate poems reveals family as one of life's true treasures. The poet captures tender childhood memories of his mother, has his spirits lifted by the wonderful vision of his granddaughter in graceful acrobatic movement, and addresses the haunting loss of his father in World War Two. He writes beautifully of his early years in Australia, where he began and where he hopes to 'reach the end'. James also reflects on the wisdom and consolation to be found in art, music and literature, which have become even more precious to him in his later years.

'The poems in this deeply moving, inspirational and wholly unsentimental book are even more accomplished than those that came before. Injury Time shows Clive James the poet in the form of his life. ' (Publication summary)

1 3 y separately published work icon Play All : A Bingewatcher’s Notebook Clive James , New Haven : Yale University Press , 2016 9940872 2016 multi chapter work criticism

'A world-renowned media and cultural critic offers an insightful analysis of serial TV drama and the modern art of the small screen Television and TV viewing are not what they once were-and that's a good thing, according to award-winning author and critic Clive James. Since serving as television columnist for the London Observer from 1972 to 1982, James has witnessed a radical change in content, format, and programming, and in the very manner in which TV is watched. Here he examines this unique cultural revolution, providing a brilliant, eminently entertaining analysis of many of the medium's most notable twenty-first-century accomplishments and their not always subtle impact on modern society-including such acclaimed serial dramas as Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, as well as the comedy 30 Rock. With intelligence and wit, James explores a television landscape expanded by cable and broadband and profoundly altered by the advent of Netflix, Amazon, and other "cord-cutting" platforms that have helped to usher in a golden age of unabashed binge-watching.' (Publication summary)

1 2 y separately published work icon Gate of Lilacs : A Verse Commentary on Proust Clive James , Sydney : Pan Macmillan , 2016 9646890 2016 single work essay

'Over a period of fifteen years Clive James learned French by almost no other method than reading À la recherche du temps perdu. Then he spent half a century trying to get up to speed with Proust's great novel in two different languages. Gate of Lilacs is the unique product of James's love and engagement with Proust's eternal masterpiece.

'With À la recherche du temps perdu, Proust, in James's words, 'followed his creative instinct all the way until his breath gave out', and now James has done the same. In Gate of Lilacs, James, a brilliant critical essayist and poet, has blended the two forms into one.

'I had always thought the critical essay and the poem were closely related forms . . . If I wanted to talk about Proust's poetry beyond the basic level of talking about his language - if I wanted to talk about the poetry of his thought - then the best way to do it might be to write a poem.There is nothing like a poem for transmitting a mental flavour. Instead of trying to describe it, you can evoke it.

'In the end, if À la recherche du temps perdu is a book devoted almost entirely to its author's gratitude for life, for love, and for art, this much smaller book is devoted to its author's gratitude for Proust.' (Publication summary)

1 Rhyming Gently into That Good Night Clive James , 2016 single work interview
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 75 no. 2 2016; (p. 18-22)
1 Clive James : ‘It Could Be Said That Adele Is Mama Cass Born Again’ Clive James , 2016 single work prose
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 28 January 2016;
1 Splinters from Shakespeare i "My name is Shallow. Lend me credit, pray,", Clive James , 2016 single work poetry
— Appears in: Quadrant , January-February vol. 60 no. 1-2 2016; (p. 49)
1 I Was Proud of These Hands Once i "Now I don't even care to look", Clive James , 2016 single work poetry
— Appears in: Quadrant , January-February vol. 60 no. 1-2 2016; (p. 49)
1 Initial Outlay i "I take off my disguise and thus reveal", Clive James , 2016 single work poetry
— Appears in: Quadrant , January-February vol. 60 no. 1-2 2016; (p. 9)
1 y separately published work icon Collected Poems, 1958-2015 Clive James , London : Picador , 2016 18357939 2016 selected work poetry

'Clive James's reputation as a poet has become impossible to ignore. His poems looking back over his extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty, such as 'Japanese Maple' (first published in the New Yorker in 2014), became global news events upon their publication.

'In this book, James makes his own rich selection from over fifty years' work in verse: from his early satires to these heart-stopping valedictory poems, he proves himself to be as well suited to the intense demands of the tight lyric as he is to the longer mock-epic. Collected Poems displays James's fluency and apparently effortless style, his technical skill and thematic scope, his lightly worn erudition and his emotional power; it will undoubtedly cement his reputation as one of the most versatile and accomplished of contemporary writers.' (Publication summary)

2 6 y separately published work icon Latest Readings Clive James , New Haven : Yale University Press , 2015 8829316 2015 selected work essay

'In 2010, Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Deciding that “if you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do,” James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would “live, read, and perhaps even write.” James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list. A look at some of James's old favorites as well as some of his recent discoveries, this book also offers a revealing look at the author himself, sharing his evocative musings on literature and family, and on living and dying.

'As thoughtful and erudite as the works of Alberto Manguel, and as moving and inspiring as Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture and Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, this valediction to James's lifelong engagement with the written word is a captivating valentine from one of the great literary minds of our time.' (Publication summary)

1 Sunset Hails a Rising i "Dying by inches, I can hear the sound", Clive James , 2015 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sentenced to Life 2015; (p. 56) The Weekend Australian , 30 November 2019; (p. 31)
1 Balcony Scene i "Old as the hills and riddled with ill health", Clive James , 2015 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sentenced to Life 2015; (p. 54-55)
1 Cabin Baggage i "My niece is heading here to stay will us.", Clive James , 2015 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sentenced to Life 2015; (p. 50)
1 Mysterious Arrival of the Dew i "Tell me about the dew. Some say it falls", Clive James , 2015 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sentenced to Life 2015; (p. 49)
1 Spring Snow Dancer i "Snow into April. Frost night after night.", Clive James , 2015 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sentenced to Life 2015; (p. 48)