Alan Buckley was brought up on Merseyside. He moved to Oxford in the eighties to study English Literature and has lived there ever since. He has worked, among other things, as a forklift truck driver a psychotherapist, and as poet in residence at a prison. The pamphlet shiver was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for summer 2009.
PBS pamphlet choice, summer 2009.
Alan Buckley's writing is alive with the need to understand. These poems are like X-rays which see through the surfaces of things and ‘guess their way around the unthinkable dark.’
Flaming June from shiver
but this is a winter spate. Our forty-footer’s
hurried down the Thames from Swinford reach.
At King’s we steer to the lock, then slide into
its chamber, moonishly still, a semi-colon;
the keeper sets his back to the balance beam,
captures us in a pause of cropped grass,
flowers bedded in squares. Behind a screen
of trees, the feral river charges the weir
then bursts back into view, dark and foaming.
It surges hard, pummels the lower gates.
The man strolls past us, a limited god
in short sleeves, sturdy trousers. You’ll need
to give it some. Keep both hands on the tiller.
He spins the sluice-wheels. Gently, we descend.