Just Like That: New & Selected Poems
From the brilliant ‘Being in Bed with Philip Larkin’ and the tour-de-force footballing T S Eliot, Peter Carpenter’s poems range with wit and insight through teaching, politics and recent history. Steely Dan are here and so is Cambridge, the Thames and Venice, but above all these are poems about love and family. Carefully selected, they offer the very best of one our most intelligent and engaging poets.
‘A naturally restrained poet, most oblique when most autobiographical, Peter Carpenter is nevertheless deeply troubled by social injustice and so is prepared to risk a plain style; but he makes his plainness interesting.’
— John Greening, TLS
‘Just Like That is a New and Selected Poems … a selection of the best poems [that] communicates a sense of confident and growing literary power.’
— PN Review
FROM THE SMOKERY
Through the miracle of the smokery,
it comes out fresh on the enamel plate
a full forty years on, stinking the place
to high heaven. I turn it from pipistrelle
to a woman’s leather gloves to giant insect –
a stag beetle, cleavered, legs in the air, opening up
like a good short story.
Its armoury of bones
and deflector shields is surely cast in bronze.
A spine to work under and lift clear
with the line of the knife before the flesh
can be enjoyed: the intricacies of a whole life,
worth taking time over.
My long-dead grandfather
puts it there in front of me. Windows run
with condensation. The grill’s still on for toast.
I make a start as he’s creasing flat his Mirror.
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Peter Carpenter has been a teacher of English from 1980, and has taught at Tonbridge School since 1992, where he was Head of English until 2002. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and magazines including the TLS, Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland, Agenda, Stand, The Rialto, the Independent and The Independent on Sunday.