David Cameron

Solitary Musing

The Rain and the Glass: 99 Poems, New and Selected


Greenwich Exchange 122pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

In his witty, entertaining and linguistically brilliant fiction the poet Robert Nye has played at being many different selves, historical and mythological (Falstaff brought him to the attention of the reading public back in 1976). The material deployed and sometimes redeployed in the novels is (to use an image from one of Nye’s recent poems) like so much thread drawn out of a spider’s entrails. The danger for Nye has always been that the material of his inner life – fashioned by whatever psychic disturbance made him a poet in the first place – would engulf his work completely. Nye’s poetry is at its best (and the poetry is the best of Nye’s work) when the outside world threatens to impinge on this inner world, like rain beating against a window. Which is precisely the situation that gave rise to the earliest of Nye’s poems included in The Rain and the Glass (dreamt, as he says in the foreword, while he lay asleep beside a window one rainy afternoon in Essex). The final poem in this reverse-chronological collection, ‘Listeners’ is an extraordinary poem for a thirteen-year-old to have written, and an unusually impersonal one – unpeopled, in fact.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • sorry I can’t spell fluttering. I was agitated.,
    • Probably try and get an announcement out later, for all these male writers who think of fluttering inner muscle sheaths...,
    • He felt the muscles far inside her flutteriung around him,
    • Next week sees return, and we've got discounted tickets on offer, right here: ,
    • We're rarely topical - tricky as a monthly magazine - but we've an article this month all about Laurence Binyon, po… ,
    • "We will remember them" - who wrote those words, and why have them become our terms of memorial? ,
    • RT : Wow. We're over the moon with this stunning piece on My Cat Yugoslavia, 'a truly extraordinary novel.'… ,