Fenton for myself

I love discovering a good new poet. Well, he’s new to me anyway.

James Fenton writes good modern poetry and, hey, he rhymes. Modern poetry that rhymes? Wow. Some of his rhymes seem comically contrived for effect. He’s like, I dunno, the poetic love child of Billy Collins and Ogden Nash.

Here’s one by Fenton that, like the Billy Collins one below, is tastefully sexy:

‘In Paris with You’

Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful
And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two.
I’m one of your talking wounded.
I’m a hostage. I’m maroonded.
But I’m in Paris with you.

Yes, I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess that I’ve been through.
I admit I’m on the rebound
And I don’t care where are we bound.
I’m in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame
If we skip the champs Elysees
And remain here in this sleazy
Old hotel room
Doing this or that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There’s that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris.
I’m in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I’m in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I’m in Paris with?..all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I’m in Paris with you.”

— James Fenton
(1993)

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