The new Featured Writer is Charles Lauder Jr who is the somewhat mysterious and slightly elusive assistant editor of The Interpreter’s House. (You see his name but never hear from him.) Now’s a chance to read a little bit about him and admire his (rather Byronic?) photo in the beautiful window and his fascinating poems. I met Charles at the wonderful launch of The Interpreter’s House in Oxford and was agog when he said he was a poet. Well, yes, of course he is. And I did know because his name appeared on 52, I think? Anyway, I’ve found another poem of his here, the one commended by the Poetry Society. And four more in The Galway Review here. I have tracked down his pamphlet, Bleeds, to here .
If you want a copy let me know and I will pass you on to Charles. I am sure another publication must be in the pipe-line.
I admire the fractured nature of some of the poems. I feel as if far more is always going on behind the words on the page than I can fathom. I like the power of the surprising verbs (like clues), the lack of punctuation (the rhythms are perfectly judged so you never stumble), the conversational tone, the way the titles run into the poems, the intense eye for detail, the lightly-worn erudition.
The first poem Finding Time is about Albert Einstein and his first wife, Maric Mileva, herself a scientist. I love the way this poem unfolds itself as you get to know it, revealing so much more at every reading. Then there’s the two parallel kinds of time and you can see how their paths diverged. The deft ending is unforgettable, …
were he sitting
here with her she knows the remainder would still be
at his desk on the other side of the wall
I also see her deep loneliness, the way she has given up her career to be a wife and mother.
The poem A Haunting is really discomforting and many layered. This is another of those with layers of time and story, beautifully poised.
And the last poem is wonderfully quirky:
When the Devil takes his wife on a picnic
checked blanket and a basketful
of brie and cranberry sandwiches
afterward a swim in the lake of fire
an atheist goes to church
God sits down at the desk
with its high leather-backed chair
to answer a prayer
opens a sack of mail.
What a great image. I do feel very honoured that Charles let these last two poems be published here for the first time. These two have never seen the light of day before. I hope you’ll enjoy and admire them as much as I have.