Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kingsley Amis

Sir Kingsley Amis (he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990) was the author of 2 dozen novels and 6 volumes of poetry. He wrote the first two James Bond novels: The Bond Dossier, and The Book of Bond, or Every Man His Own 007. I had no idea! It's been rumored that he wrote part of Ian Fleming's last book, The Man With The Golden Gun. Amis wrote under the pseudonym Robert Markham. I didn't know this, either! Flemings wife disliked Amis, calling him a "left-wing opportunist." The copyright owners of Fleming's Bond books had the brilliant idea that other writers would continue with Bond, all writing under the same pseudonym. It never happened.

Poor health convinced Amis to give up smiking, but he carried on with his reputation as a "boozer" of scotch and gin. He once said, "If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing." He died in 1995, at the age of 73, from a fall.

Here's another Kingsley Amis poem:


Between the Gardening and the Cookery
Comes the brief Poetry shelf;
By the Nonesuch Donne, a thin anthology
Offers itself.

Critical, and with nothing else to do,
I scan the Contents page,
Relieved to find the names are mostly new;
No one my age.

Like all strangers, they divide by sex:
Landscape Near Parma
Interests a man, so does The Double Vortex,
So does Rilke and Buddha.

"I travel, you see," "I think" and "I can read"
These titles seem to say;
But I Remember You, Love is My Creed,
Poem for J.,

The ladies' choice, discountenance my patter
For several seconds;
From somewhere in this (as in any) matter
A moral beckons.

Should poets bicycle-pump the human heart
Or squash it flat?
Man's love is of man's life a thing apart;
Girls aren't like that.

We men have got love well weighed up; our stuff
Can get by without it.
Women don't seem to think that's good enough;
They write about it.

And the awful way their poems lay them open
Just doesn't strike them.
Women are really much nicer than men:
No wonder we like them.

Deciding this, we can forget those times
We stay up half the night
Chock-full of love, crammed with bright thoughts, names, rhymes,
And couldn't write.



slickdpdx said...

His son is no slouch either! (Although I don't think he does poetry.)

Weren't Amis and Larkin great friends? An excuse to post a Larkin!

Pam said...

This is very interesting, who knew?

slickdpdx said...

K. Amis wrote the first two non-Fleming Bond novels, he was not Bond's creator.

pepektheassassin said...

Aha! I thought he was! (That's what you get for thinking!)

I also think he was good friends with quite a lot of famous people, Larkin, CS Lewis, others I can't think of at the moment. (That what you get for NOT thinking!)