Fingers crossed this letter finds you in good health and still enjoying poetry!
I’m afraid I can’t quite remember your face from my reading at the New Park Centre four years ago, though I do just about recall resisting a dodgy joke about the royal family while checking the spelling of your name and signing your brand-new copy of The Knives of Villalejo. However, I’ve been thinking about you a lot these past few days, ever since my friend spotted that very copy at the Oxfam shop in Chichester last week and whizzed a photo of it over to me.
On the one hand, I hope you enjoyed it
and then passed it on, rather than regretting your purchase. And then, of
course, I hope that you yourself chose to give it to Oxfam. Far too many books
in charity shops are from personal libraries that have been dispersed by
relatives (see my blog post about Peggy Chapman-Andrews from a few years back).
And on the other hand, I’m writing to thank you for granting me this poetic rite of passage: the first time my book has been spotted at a charity shop. I’m pleasantly surprised not to feel annoyed at all that it might have been discarded. Instead, I’m excited to wonder about the prospective new life it’s been given. As soon as I get back to Chichester, I’ll be popping in to the Oxfam shop to find out whether it’s found another owner.
In other words, I'm proud of joining the ranks of the charity shop poets. I've always loved second-hand books, and my collection's now among them! For that, Camilla, I’ll always be grateful to you.
All the best,