Thanks are due to Richie McCaffery for posting a link on Facebook to the Telegraph's so-called review of Ian Hamilton's Collected Poems, which has just been issued in paperback. It's an exceptional book, as the reviewer thankfully manages to mention in passing among the countless references to Hamilton's undoubted sexual exploits, boozing and mischief-making. The feature is a potted biography, not a critical analysis of poetry.
Hamilton's verse is outstanding. What's more, it's more than capable of engaging with readers who are unaccustomed to picking up a book of poems. This Telegraph article, however, has very little chance of encouraging anyone to do so. Instead, the piece yet again decides to focus on salacious details just like in the case of Plath, Hughes and even Larkin. Caricatures abound.
Forget the Telegraph's sensationalism. Get hold of a copy of Ian Hamilton's Collected Poems. Read it. Allow yourself to be moved.
It's three weeks ago now, but the final chords of Busoni's piano arrangement of Bach's Chaconne in D Minor are still ringing in my ears. Maybe it's because...