and (Dear James)



and (Dear James)

it occurs to me now, just thinking out loud, that in a way Kenneth and Frank actually were Twitter, ahead of their time I mean, obviously, the jokey, in the moment repetitions and close-up examining of tiny yet grand experience, and those short poems, obviously, how they would have loved to have used it, I think (I think?), how at home they would

have been, especially tonally, I think they would have had a ball. But you, you were always slower, slyer, the introvert at the party in the corner looking for a way out or to the drinks trolley (and I love that), even though your poems could shift and swerve with the best of them, now this, then that, Oh, look, it’s tomorrow (again, already), all happening in the same time frame, or

purporting to be. I wonder what you did in between those shifts at the desk, not in terms of life/living, I mean did you worry that it might not come back tomorrow with only a page and a bit of Hymn to Life completed, how did you hold on to what you needed to say, or did what you needed to say just turn up like a cat padding under the table unannounced, that

high wire trick of trust in your self, your voice, your steel determination to get it down, quick, before time or death (or breakfast) could take it away. That is why I think (I know) I love June 30, 1974 so much, you didn’t let life get in the way, you celebrated it with every fibre even when nothing was happening and ‘I/ think I’ll make more toast’ is the greatest last line possibly



[first published, September 2016]


June 30, 1974


  1. thank you Anthony for this blog. Mind you, it cost me nearly 15 quid to buy 2 of James Schuyler’s books (letters to Frank O’Hara and a selected)! But that poem of his that you included inspired me to write at the very last moment a poem for an event our Stanza group are doing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival…. It showed me how I could write it. I don’t know how good it is – I’m sure not very – and it’s very raw but I’d promised to write it and it’s a relief. Thank you. I love your blogs but they don’t always have such an instant effect.

    Liked by 1 person

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