Bitter-Sweet

Bitter-Sweet

By Andrew Waterman

Price: £6.00

ISBN: 978-1-910323-77-9

135mmx210mm, paperback, 20pp

Of the poems in this pamphlet Bitter-Sweet Gregory Dowling writes: ‘In the very last poem of this short sequence Andrew Waterman states: “In me no rich experience is completed / unless it’s shared: these places, / music, my sense of won. Jokes.” Waterman has been sharing his rich experience with readers for over f6oty years now and these poems show the same unfailing sense of wonder, and the same power to transmit it to the reader. His feeling for place and time, which has always been one of his greatest gifts, is fully on display here, as he takes us from Norwich to Sicily and Tuscany over a period of three years. Although the sequence contains only seven poems, he manages to give us a full and touching picture of a developing relationship, thanks to his skill at capturing significant moments against a background of the changing seasons in England and Italy. In an earlier poem, “By the River Wensum”, Waterman said that such moments are “how lives define themselves”; he doesn’t merely pinpoint these moments, but succeeds in conveying the full intensity of the experience to the reader. And the jokes are there too, in particular in the several delightful pictures of animals, from the squirrel that opens and closes the sequence to the swans with “necks like question-marks uncoiling”, to the “small dog Dior”, who lords it over a park in Taormina. Waterman’s poetic vision and his capacity for wonder remain as lucid as ever’

Andrew Waterman was born in London in 1940, and after a miscellany of jobs – kitchen porter, bank clerk, bookshop assistant, others – read English literature at the universities of Leicester and Oxford. Thereafter he taught for three decades at the University of Ulster. His ten collections of poetry include a Poetry Book Society Choice and two Poetry Book Society Recommendations Andrew Waterman is a recipient of the Cholmondeley Award for Poets. He lives in Norwich.

Reviewing Andrew Waterman’s Collected Poems in Ambit, Marita Over wrote: ‘The “story” that emerges is moving and inspiring and the craftsmanship in its telling is superb. His work, even as it explores the darkest themes, brims with a vitality and an in-spite-of-itself optimism born of a keen eye and ear for what is beautiful.’