Endorsement of William Furley's Selected Poems

by Irving Wardle (June 2021)

Dear Bill - Thank you again for the terrific book which I have been
reading and rereading in the weeks since Diana’s farewell party. All
I have to say really is that I’m convinced that your poetry is the
real stuff. Anybody reviewing it might be tempted to admire the fact
that you are at home in three worlds - the here and now, Modern
European history and classical antiquity - all fertilising one another
- whereas most of us have to do with only one plus a fortnight on the
Costa Brava. Also he might point out a recurring process, applying to
small and large topics alike, by which you dwell equally on weeds
pushing up through cracks in the pavement and a flattened city
reassembling itself. But a writer could have all that and still fail
to strike any spark. But whether you are reinhabiting Hesiod or
bringing your wife an ice-cream on the beach, that magic click happens
and a living poetic organism comes into the world. I respond to this
with admiration and envy. I admire your achievements in territory I
could never hope to set foot. I envy you for excelling in the kind of
poem I would like to write if I could - i.e. poetry of small, neglected
things - abandoned supermarket trolleys, kitchen things, and your
litany of small successes. In particular I have been haunted for
years by a phantom poem which you have now written in April Uprising -
with such exquisitely accurate observation, such power of connecting
the seen to the imagined. So you get meaning and music out of
unnoticed items of everyday life. I read it once again, and admire
and despair.