"These are fine and moving poems, written by a craftsman with sensitive poetic skills."
- Christopher Heywood, B. Litt., MA (Oxford); Hon. Research Fellow, Sheffield University.
"I enjoyed his poems very much."
- George Szirtes, poet (winner of the T S Elliott prize 2005).
Born in South London, Jim Burch has lived in East Anglia for the last 37 years. He was a schoolboy during WW2 and, though evacuated several times, was in London during the Blitz, the doodle-bugs and the V2 raids. His 2yrs National Service were spent in Aldershot in the RAMC. He has worked as a lab technician, railway porter, park-keeper, barman, on market stalls and in various other manual jobs before settling down to married life and becoming a father, grand-father and great grand-father. The rest of his working life was as a teacher, educational psychologist and university lecturer. Some of his family are from or living in Brazil.
He has written, off and on, for much of his life, but it has become a major preoccupation since his retirement. He has written stories and poems for children and is hoping to get an illustrated book of some of these published, in collaboration with a local artist. One of his scripts has been made into a short film by a local film group. All writing, 'and most other things,' came to a stop with the death of his wife, Thea, on October 1st 1999, but re-started when he began writing the poems which make up Part 2 of this volume.
AFTER OCTOBER is in 2 parts. The first twenty of the poems in Part 1, written during Thea's life, are love poems. Some are celebratory - of falling in love, being in love and of births. Others chart the various buffetings to which love is subject, partings, separations, rows, illness and ageing. The last poem in this section, and all of those in Part 2, fifty in all, were written after Thea's death. In their way, these are love poems too, but love here has been passed through the prism of bereavement and split into a huge variety of emotions, despair, anger, protest, grief, loss, loneliness, nostalgia, gratitude, tenderness and resignation. Some of the poems may be painful reading, but, for many readers, it has been a kind of relief to recognise feelings which they may have experienced, but not always been able to express in words of their own.
To read the sonnet, "Poor at Maths", from this anthology, click here.
Another 26 poems on this theme will be found in Jim Burch's second volume 'Feast and Famine'
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