Joie de vivre

Paul Bailey


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CB editions
10 February 2022
ISBN: 9781909585454
94 pages

From the publisher

          The earth is heaving with laughter
          and spring’s in the air on this winter morning
          and I’m happy to be with the riotous dead.

Inheritance, Paul Bailey’s first book of poems after a lifetime of writing fiction, was acclaimed by Carol Rumens in the Guardian as ‘a collection to engage everyone who appreciates elegant craft, shapely storytelling and delicate love lyrics, with a touch of acerbic mischief to offset melancholy and no “poetic” pretentiousness whatever’.

In Joie de vivre, Bailey continues to celebrate the living and the dead with ‘measured sorrow and delight’. The poems both mourn and laugh, giving age and illness more than a good run for their money.

‘The poems never fail to entertain and then to provoke the reader's admiration for their boldness and authenticity … Graham Greene mentions the cafard that hangs around a writer’s life and especially a novelist’s – the sense of dissatisfaction and failure, however much the world admires the work, of jaundice, boredom and cynicism from ruminating too much about human nature. Bailey’s poems are the perfect chemo to this occupational malignancy. They are never self-pitying, but defiantly affirmative of life even while their author is in the grip of a dread illness. If the novels are pearls, the poems reveal the original speck of grit around which they formed.’
     – Timothy Mo, Spectator World