On the Edge of Self-Erasure

Iain Sinclair, Review of Night Thoughts: The Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne, by Robert Fraser, The Guardian (Guardian Review, p. 7) 31 March 2012:

…Without labouring the thesis, he [Robert Fraser] manages to suggest that Gascoyne’s lifelong interest in conspiracy, covert sexuality, the occult, is an extension of the rituals and disguises of London suburbia. Poems, on the edge of self-erasure, fret over the impulse that pushes them towards publication and exposure. The visionary poet, a Christian existentialist, was prolific in his silences. He contrived enough white space for others to mythologise a consistently aborted career. He traded in the distance between his own reluctant muse and the conviction and swagger of the great ones he sought out, echoed and honoured.

…Gascoyne’s rescue, his return to life in the suburban house on the Isle of Wight, was brokered by two remarkable people. Judy Lewis, a vet’s estranged wife, who read his “September Sun: 1947” to a depressed group at Whitecroft Hospital, provoked the previously mute writer to speech. “I am the poet.” “Yes, dear. I’m sure you are.” But it was true. He was the poet and it was always 1947. He became a living quotation recovered from a midden of fragments: “All our trash to cinders bring.”

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