It is for each one of you, said the conductor, to chose to believe whether what you have witnessed is a memory, an illusion, a prophecy or a dream.
“This collection stands out because of the attention the poems pay to their subjects and because of the range and strangeness of their interests” was what Poet Laureate Andrew Motion said about this book. He adjudicated the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition in 2009 when Too Late for the Love Hotel was one of the winners.
‘The Magician’s Wife’ is possibly the strangest poem in the book. It retells the story of Cupid and Psyche, with Cupid as a modern magician and Psyche as his over-trusting bride. Mr Cupid’s identically dressed stage partner, the ambiguous Mr Albert, plays best man . Later the poem has a visitation from Edward Lear’s Owl and Pussycat boating to their own wedding across a moonlit Torbay. ‘The Magician’s Wife’ was awarded an engraved silver goblet for senior creativity in the mid-Somerset Festival. I had to polish this up and return it to the festival organisers when the year was up.
The best known poem in Too Late for the Love Hotel is definitely ‘A Leisure Centre is Also a Temple of Learning’ which is now in the Forward Poems of the Decade and as a result on the A level syllabus in four hundred schools. Cerys Matthews performed it to a capacity audience as the final piece in her Radio Four With Great Pleasure concert of songs and readings in Bristol, in St George’s Brandon Hill. It has also been featured on the BBC Radio programme Poetry Please. Singer songwriter Miranda Pender presented her own brilliant new version at the Royston Jazz Club in October 2015. And just for the record, I included it in my first ever submission to a very small East Anglian poetry magazine, now defunct, who turned it down.