The Book of My Enemy
Following Other Passports, which was published in 1986, The Book of My Enemy was the second, much-expanded version of my Collected Verse, comprising all the work that I wished to keep from 1958 right through until 2003, including the complete text of Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage. Usually it is wise to cultivate an aversion to blowing one's own trumpet, but when it comes to verse, the occasional unsolicited bugle solo from oneself is sometimes the only supporting music available, so I don't mind saying that this volume did quite good business for a book of poetry. It was a Poetry Book Society choice and got some heart-warming reviews — as a lady of a certain age might be congratulated on her pose for a nude calendar — but even more unusual were the statistics. It ran through five printings in hardback and is still going in paperback, both in Britain and Australia. I gave a performance from the book at the Cheltenham Festival,and got my first hint that there might be an audience for my work in verse. Not as big an audience as for my work in prose, perhaps, but still a substantial number. Anyway, if anyone walked out they must have done so on tip-toe.