Saturday, September 3, 2016

Interlude - By Way of Explanation

Living British writer Alan Moore
Greetings all! I hate doing posts about not posting but I figured after nearly two months radio silence that an explanation was in order. In mid-July, I secured an opportunity to interview British writer, Alan Moore, for World Literature Today magazine, of which I am the book review editor. He has a new book, Jerusalem, that is dropping very, very soon.

It's 1300 pages long.

Moore is, far and away, my favorite living writer and gaining the opportunity to interview him is the achievement of a life-long goal. I had one month to read this life-altering but very long book and prepare questions for an author who has been an inspiration to me for more than 20 years.

The good news is I finished the book and conducted the interview on August 25th. I think it went very well and, Lord willing and if the Creeks don't rise, it'll be in the January issue of the magazine. There are some interesting (and not altogether obvious) correlations between Hardy and Moore's works that will be obliquely addressed in the piece so, when the time comes, I'll share it here along with my thoughts on what elements, textual and otherwise, link them in my mind.

The bad news is/was that there was no way I could meet those goals and work on this blog. Now that it's behind me, I'm going to get started again here very soon. I actually am in the process of reviewing Under the Greenwood Tree and my original notes to get back into the headspace to write about it.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a Hardy poem with which you may not be familiar. I was gifted two books of Hardy criticism from a friend's library and, inside of them, was a Hardy poem cut out of a magazine of unknown origin (though the photography in an ad on the back side suggests early 1960s). This poem, "The Unplanted Primrose," is dated 1865-1867 and, according to the tiny text at the bottom, was "discovered by Miss Evelyn Hardy [ed. note, noted Hardy critic but, as far as I can tell, no relation] among the unpublished papers of Thomas Hardy." I've only spotted it online embedded in longer papers and books so why not reprint it here for your enjoyment?

The Unplanted Primrose

"A pink primrose from the plant he knows
      Let me send him in his far spot,
 From the root I brought to his garden-knot
 When he dwelt herefrom but a little mile;
 A root I had reared at that time of love,
 And of all my stock the best that throve
     Which he took with so warm a smile."

Such she sang and said, and aflush she sped
     To her love's old home hard by
Ere he left that nook for the wider sky
Of a southern country unassayed.
And she crept to the border of early stocks,
Of pansies, pinks and hollyhocks,
     Where their vows and the gift were made.

"It has not bloomed!" And her glances gloomed
     As she missed the expected hue,
"Yet the rest are in blow the border through;
 Nor is leaf or bud of it evident.
 Ah, can it have died of an over-care
 In its tendance, sprung of his charge to spare
     No pains for its nourishment?"

She turned her round from the wrong ones found
     To the seat where a year before
She had brought it him as the best of her store,
And lo, on a ledge of the wall she neared,
Lay its withered skeleton, dry and brown,
Untouched since there he had laid it down
     When she waved and disappeared.

1865-1867 Westbourne Park Villas

16 Westbourne Park Villas, W2, London
where the poem was written.

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