My word, is it that time of year already?
Well, here's wishing you a very warm and happy time with your families and friends, and may 2011 be not only the first year of a brand new decade, but the start of many great things.
I will be glad to see the back of 2010, having spent a good deal of it in me bed.
Normal-ish service has since resumed, in the last three months - sure I'm even writing again! Shhh - lets not jinx it :)
In the meantime, I leave with a little something about critic/poet Randall Jarrell's book of reviews/critiques/ essays: Kipling, Auden & Co.: Essays and Reviews, 1935-1964. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979.
Jarrell (hadn't he a fab name? He gave good photos too - every ounce old-school beard going on there!), had a great facility in writing about the poets he wished were better than they were, and praising (without sycophancy) the poets whose work he admired(Bishop, Stevens, Auden, Yeats and of course, Frost). There's a really brilliant essay on what made Yeats write the way he did, in the book, which I am looking forward to re-reading. I think he's right on the money, with his approach on Yeats. I want more of his work!
Reading with the benefit of fifty-sixty + years later, you recognise the writers whose work has endured, and the writers whose work was not as good - well, guess what? You've never heard them... or you may have but in a very slight sense (ooh, he was harsh on Stephen Spender). Makes you think about today's writers quite carefully, as well as what went into Jarrell's close reading of poetry.