Ian Harrow

The delicate business of writing poetry

Living, as Clive James put it, under a life sentence, and having refused chemotherapy, I find I respond to the time issue in contradictory ways. On the one hand, I read avidly, almost as if I’ll be tested at some later date. I am morbidly well-informed on current affairs, the status of the old white


Old friends, we scarcely speak of death or dying. As ever, the displacements continue, just as when we used to fail to get round to speaking about love or confined ourselves to giving it a mention in letters — about which we didn’t speak. Until I knew better, I thought poets talked of such things,

En Retrait

Since I decided to accept this quiet corner of the garden as my undeserved Elysium and to make the birdsong and the flowers stand for the rightness of everything, I find I have no need to show how many pieces the world is in, how better and worse it always is; where motivated reason and

In Other Eyes

Someone to trust with parcels, because he’s ‘always in’; the character who locks the gate at night and lingers to make that one-too-many joke; who isn’t sure sometimes what has issued from the opening of his mouth; whose wet shoe lets out a squeal as he fills the kettle with a rising note; one of