Inside Out

John Bayley

  • The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 by Gavin Ewart
    Hutchinson, 412 pp, £10.00, June 1980, ISBN 0 09 141000 2
  • Selected Poems and Prose by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb
    Carcanet, 205 pp, £7.95, June 1980, ISBN 0 85635 263 2

Towards the end of Gavin Ewart’s delightful and comfortable volume there is a poem called ‘It’s hard to dislike Ewart’. Too true, as Clive James or Peter Porter might say, possibly with a certain wry exasperation. Generally speaking, our fondness and admiration for poets does go with a potential of patronage or dislike, a pleasure in our sense of the absurdities and vulnerabilities of their worlds – Keats blushing to the ears as he writes raptly about womens’ waists; Eliot going on about his delicate apprehension of time and God, not hoping to turn again, and so forth. Their greatness is intimate with a wholly personal existence, as touching and exposed as romance. Needless to say, Ewart is not like that.

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