Palavers, and a Nocturnal Journal

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Christopher Middleton, long a resident of the USA, is one of Britain's finest poets. He was writing (not for publication) his 'Nocturnal Journal' during the two years prior to his retirement from the University of Texas at Austin, where he had taught German and Comparative Literature since 1966. The journal appears here in conjunction with conversations tape-recorded by Marius Kociejowski in London during October 2002 and June 2003. In both areas Middleton attends eloquently to his concerns as poet, translator, and essayist: values intrinsic and peculiar to poetry, the fundamental human aptitude (and craving) for aesthetic expression, and the reading of sign-systems usually deemed haphazard (e.g., a Turkish sea-mew, a soccer match, the aprons of waiters, rubbish in the Paris Metro, and a fresco in Cappadocia). Also included here, by way of introduction to the volume, is a brief but entertaining reminiscence of his first encounters with Christopher Middleton by Marius Kociejowski.