COUNTING THE CHIMES
NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1975-2003
Poems by John Mole
John Mole was born in Somerset and was, for many years, a teacher in Hertfordshire where he still lives. His poetry has received the Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards, and his collection Boo to a Goose the Signal Award for an outstanding contribution to poetry for children. With Peter Scupham he founded The Mandeville Press, publishing a range of poets, established and less well-known, in hand-set editions. He has compiled and presented feature programmes and anthologies for BBC radio, and was recently appointed the City of London’s Poet-in-Residence. A regular reviewer, his articles on poetry in the 1980’s were collected in Passing Judgements, and he also writes on film and other aspects of popular culture, particularly jazz – a field in which he is also a practitioner, playing regularly as a clarinettist with various groups. John Mole is married to the artist Mary Norman and they have two sons.
’A plain strength, technical brilliance and elegant bleakness which are characteristic. Impeccably cool and graceful in his use of language . . . I can think of no contemporary poet who captures with greater deftness and precision that ache of the heart which is part of the human condition, that mixture of sweetness and desolation.’
Lawrence Sail, P.N. Review, reviewing In and Out of the Apple
’There are many poems here that might have appeared in earlier books . . . they mix the warmth of nostalgia with the cold breath of alienation and death. They are economical, elegant, clean, often make use of snippets of speech which seem to die on the tongue. Some of them are quite perfect encapsulations of a milieu which, as far as poetry is concerned, is Mole’s alone. It is less foreign ground for novelists, and in some ways such poems may be read as novels in miniature.’
George Szirtes, The Cambridge Review, reviewing Homing
’John Mole has the virtue praised in an earlier Heaney poem, “A Daylight Art”, of practicing his right art from the start and persevering in it. This book adds to Mole’s complement of some of the most engaging English poems of the last quarter-century’.
Bernard O’Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement, reviewing Depending on the Light
’John Mole’s poems are beautifully formed things. His needle-sharp feeling for language feeds both his humour and his seriousness. Often he seems to push us gently into understanding that the most serious things may be also the lightest and slightest . . . Mole’s people make gardens, children, poems but their eyes are open and they see death camping a little nearer each night. Perhaps it’s Mole’s realism which makes him, in the end, such a consoling poet.’
Helen Dunmore, Poetry Review, reviewing Selected Poems
’The presence of time and it’s many dimensions permeates this work, as do the transforming qualities of light and shadow, movement and stillness. The elements dance and loop with their dapple and dazzle through these pages. A sense of quest and consequent moments that include recovery, discovery and revelation is never far off, and never more so than in the penultimate poem (“The Waterfall”). This is the one that took my breath away.’
Angela Morten, The David Jones Journal, reviewing For the Moment
Not Too Late
I tell myself I have never
told myself this before
and the gate swings open
on rusted hinges. Look,
there’s a party here
in a walled garden
with lanterns, flambeaux,
and the counterpoint
of unfamiliar conversation.
My god, it’s been going on
all the time
and just next door.
Now I want more of this
I tell myself,
just more of it, and more.
COUNTING THE CHIMES: NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1975-2003
Price £9.00 per copy post free (£6.00 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: © Succession H Matisse / DACS 2004.
DIGITAL IMAGE © 2004 The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence. Matisse, Henri (1869-1954): Dance (first version, Paris, March 1909). New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). Oil on canvas, 259.7 x 390.1cm. Gift of Nelson A Rockefeller in honour of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. 201.1963
Publication: winter 2004/2005 (149 pages laminated paperback)