...still I'd rather be famous than holy, any day, any day, any day...
So sang Morrisey. And I go off to the Oxfam bookshop in Didsbury, and find there, for the princely sum of .99p, the book Passport to Earth by Henry Graham. This erstwhile member of the Liverpool group of poets from the '60's, according to the blurb, "is considered to be one of the most mature and permanent poetic talents yo have emerged from the 'pop' scene."
What do you mean you've never heard of him? Surely you must have if that blurb is anything to go by...
It's a good collection, actually, as is my only other substantial collection of his, Bar Room Ballads. Tinged with if not occassionally steeped in Surrealism and a deep knowledge of the visual arts, his writing is certainly worth looking up. Not particularly experimental or too dully mainstream, it's certainly more serious and contemplative than the Liverpool Scene of Roger McGough & Brian Patten. The book I bought Tuesday (after I'd had my teeth done) was published in 1971, and if anyone had taken any notice, we might have remembered it the way we remember Seamus Heaney's Death of a Naturalist.
But maybe it wasn't special enough, or didn't get the right reviews, or wasn't taken up on any courses, and it disappeared into that enormous invisible library, the Library of Forgotten Books. Well, it's a good read, worth at least a couple of quid of anyone's money, so if you see it in an Oxfam shop near you, let it be read again, and remembered in the ears of readers.
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