The publication of Clive James’ Sentenced to Life was a major literary event. Facing the end, James looked back over his life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty to produce his finest work: poems of extraordinary power that spoke to our most elemental human emotions.
Injury Time finds James in a similar mood. Keen to capture and cherish moments of beauty and love; thinking about how best to live in his remaining days; and casting his mind forward to when he will be gone and how he might be remembered. A series of intimate poems reveals family as one of life’s true treasures.
The poet captures tender childhood memories of his mother, has his spirits lifted by the wonderful vision of his granddaughter in graceful acrobatic movement, and addresses the haunting loss of his father in World War Two. He writes beautifully of his early years in Australia, where he began and where he hopes to ‘reach the end’.
James also reflects on the wisdom and consolation to be found in art, music and literature, which have become even more precious to him in his later years. The poems in this deeply moving, inspirational and wholly unsentimental book are even more accomplished than those that came before. Injury Time shows Clive James the poet in the form of his life.
Clive James is the multi-million-copy bestselling author of more than forty books. His poetry collection Sentenced to Life and his translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy were both Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, and his collections of verse have been shortlisted for many prizes. In 2012 he was appointed CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Image: Injury Times by Clive James – courtesy of Picador