John Carey emeritus professor of literature at Oxford university and beekeeper
I admire your book reviews in the Sunday Times. It may have been you, and I think it was, who said the great writers possess greatness of soul. Also that eighty per cent of what is accepted as art in any age is not art. I write. We can’t all be Pushkin or indeed Russians of any description. I write poetry and what have you. Another said I write rhymes.
Avoidance of cliches, such as ‘the struggle of the artist to get his voice heard’, is important. I have said, and I quote, I breathe new life into old cliches. Truisms are nonetheless true for being self evident.
I have written possibly a thousand poems and am seventy-six years old, but enough statistics. I call them poems, and why not? Also plays, essays, stories mostly suited to the short attention span generation. But does anyone pay attention? Some, yes. A poem of mine, Snowdrop, has been spoken of in the same breath as the work of Seamus Heaney, Nobel prize winner. Not by an emeritus professor but by a farmer’s wife.
Pardon me for writing to you, but a cat may look at a king. You may quote Oscar, I don’t know you but your manner is familiar.
Now, serious matters. John Kennedy Toole’s masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces was not published until after his death by suicide and only then after his mother gave it to a literature professor who recommended it for publication, when it won the Pulitzer prize. History has been said to repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Now, farcically, I provide you with links to recent writings of mine which please share if you feel so inclined. Cliché. There’s no harm in asking. There’s lots more where these came from. I and my writing exist more than merely in cyberspace. But, yes, there.
Question: Does a sense of humour preclude one from serious consideration? What about Dostoevsky? Catch 22?
Tich Ennis, birth name David, although that may be disputed.
3rd July, 2017