Sunday, April 4, 2010

3 Poems by Austin Dobson

I like poets with day-jobs. Henry Austin Dobson was a civil engineer. He was successful in his career, but hardly shook the world. I like that too; the steadiness of a man who went about his business, accepted promotion, when it came, and just did his work. Austin Dobson though was also a poet and critic, editor and a biographer, and it was as that last I first met with him. His life of Henry Fielding was both brief and good. I'd no idea, when I read that, that Dobson was a poet. Later, I was interested to find mention made of his poetry, and specifically of his use and promotion of French poetic forms in English, in a book of essays by a critic and contemporary of his. I like writers who write widely, and who do many things well.

I confess, I read very little of Dobson's poetry until I came across these three poems in a favorite anthology and then I went on to read more and found I liked much of that as well.

It is astonishing to me to think that I could be my present age, and with twenty some years experience selling books, and still be making such accidental, personal discoveries in English literature. I like that too.

(I include the picture of Austin Dobson, for his magnificent mustache. His is a good face, but it is that mustache that makes me think it wonderful.)

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