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Following Boris to Hollywood

I am not here following the caretaker Prime Minister who has resigned but not. He appears to live in some sort of borderland theatre which has become boring beyond belief; I am referring to Boris Drayluk’s collection of poems My Holywood published by Paul Dry Books. I have just finished Jonathan Coe’s Mr Wilder and Me and am currently reading Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist which seem to form a suitable background on which to project Drayluk’s moving collection.

His collection begins with a mixture of recollection and nostalgia-

This much is clear :the good old days have passed

Some giant fig trees, a few pygmy palms

deep broken shade on disenfranchised grass;

This magnificent collection by the Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books has many lovely poems. Dralyuk has a stirring feeling for the dilapidated landscape of Los Angeles and a wide understanding of the hinterland of European Culture. He is a skilled translator and his poems have a deep moving quality appropriately relieved by wit and humour. Here is one short example-

OLD FLAME

Above the tongue-tip is an air so blue

I can compare it only to how you

who once consumed me in a yellow heat,

now scarcely singe me when we meet.

Dralyuk writes of loss and passing time and of memory under the condition of exile. I particularly enjoyed Stravinsky at the Farmer’s Market; here are two stanzas.

Christopher Isherwood is a disciple, slipping

off to the Viertals on the weekends far from Swami,

swimming naked. In Brentwood, Schoenburg lobs grapefruits

and insults at Feuchtwanger’s wife.

Herr Doktor Faustus, exile is no bargin.

You move von heute auf morgen.

Stravinsky lunches at the Farmer’s Market.

The Firebird is plucked, Petrushka’s henpecked.

Here there are layers of sorrow portrayed in a dream-like landscape. Here is a photograph of the poet and a YouTube interview on this collection.

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