DRINKS WITH DEAD POETS: THE AUTUMN TERM (Oberon Books, pub date 1st September 2016)
‘I am walking along a lane with no earthly idea why…’
Poet Glyn Maxwell wakes up in a mysterious village one autumn day. He has no idea how he got there – is he dead? in a coma? dreaming? – but he has a strange feeling there’s a class to teach. And isn’t that the poet Keats wandering down the lane? Why not ask him to give a reading, do a Q and A, hit the pub with the students afterwards?
Soon the whole of the autumn term stretches ahead, with Byron, Yeats and Emily Dickinson, the Brontës, the Brownings and Edgar Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen and many more all on their way to give readings in the humble village hall.
And everything they say – in class, on stage, at the Cross Keys pub – comes verbatim from their diaries, essays, or letters.
Drinks With Dead Poets is a homage to the departed, a tale of the lives and loves of students, a critical guide to great English poetry, the dream of a heavenly autumn. Nothing like it has ever been written.
‘I’m the very worst companion for young people in the world,’ Byron’s saying as he accepts the bottle I bring to the table, spares me not a glance, thus reducing me to a waiter, and Bella gets someone to drag up a stool:
‘This is our poetry professor!’
‘He’s also a poet,’ yells Blanche, ‘but he keeps that pretty quiet!’
Actually I don’t (I shout cheerily) but they’re my students so they’ve no idea!
‘I don’t draw well with literary men,’ says Byron, faintly acknowledging me, ‘never know what to say to ‘em after I’ve praised their last publication.’
‘His is called Pluto,’ Bella shouts in his ear, and he looks about as interested as he’d be in a night on that lost planet.