1. The 3-D Clock
My new pamphlet, “The 3-D Clock”, was published by Dempsey & Windle on 1st March. It’s available from their website, https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/stephen-claughton.html, and costs £8.00 (+ £2.00 p&p).
“The poems in this pamphlet will be familiar territory for those of us who have lost a relative to dementia. Stephen Claughton traces his mother’s descent into the nightmare of forgetfulness with wit, affection and considerable skill and these are powerful, moving poems, all the more effective because of the simplicity of form and language. We glimpse the relationship as it used to be and move with the writer into a reluctant acceptance of the changes brought about by this devastating illness. It brought a tear to my eye.”
“This moving sequence of poems documents the painful everyday life of a woman with dementia as seen through the eyes of her son. Claughton shows us what it is like to navigate the landscape of this illness, this fragile world where ‘everyone makes sense of their own reality’. He does so with honest poems that gain in power as you read on and resonate like aftershocks once you’ve closed the book.”
2. The War with Hannibal
Poetry Salzburg published my first pamphlet, “The War with Hannibal”, in October. It’s available from their website http://www.poetrysalzburg.com and costs £6.50 (+ £1.50 p&p).
“Stephen Claughton has a voice that is quite rare in contemporary poetry. You actually enjoy reading him; you enjoy exploring his landscapes, which might be a Latin lesson with restless schoolboys, a subway with a modern Orpheus, or memories of a grandfather who knew Elgar. I can recommend this pamphlet to any reader.”
“Stephen Claughton is a poet with something to say, whose poems are always accessible, engaging and eloquently expressed. Shot through with his own brand of deadpan humour, he seems nonetheless, like Larkin, to be a poet who ‘will forever be surprising / A hunger in himself to be more serious.’ Whether he is describing his ‘devout Sabbatarian’ grandfather, his Latin teacher, or tragic artists like Munch and Flannery O’Connor, his portraits of failure and frustration exude a kind of bruised wisdom in the face of mortality and neglect: ‘We are where we are […]. That’s how things look from here.’ And yet, however clear-eyed and stoical his vision may be, this is a poet who entertains and delights us with consummate ease.”
Reviews of “The War with Hannibal” and “The 3-D Clock”
“Claughton is a sympathetic and accurate observer and a good story-teller with a facility for conveying human emotions in a few words.” ” . . . affection, understanding and generosity are predominant qualities of Claughton’s very accessible poetry.” (Thomas Ovans in London Grip, 28 April 2020)
“I can say with absolute certainty that these are all poems to which I’ll return, again and again. Since your editor is essentially quite a simple soul, he has a special fondness for poems written in everyday language that exhibit the virtues of absolute lucidity, but which shoot with arrow-like precision right into the reader’s heart (a much more difficult trick to pull off than many practitioners of the art realize).” (Kevin Maynard in Ver Poets Poetry World, Spring 2020)