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Closing Time
by Jeremy Page
£11.85 (pub. 2014)

Closing Time Reviews

"Past and present often co-exist in these fresh, unflinching poems; childhood merges with old age, as the gains and losses of life are explored with clear-sighted tenderness and Page's characteristic precise observation and luminous imagery. His wry humour is also a delight; surreal fantasies of unlikely encounters and their consequences; ghosts jostle '…for space at the bar with their/more illustrious predecessors'. This is a collection where the poet's ghosts are brought into the light, and celebrated.'"

Catherine Smith

"A number of these poems tellingly recall once treasured relationships affected by separation or memory loss. But rather than yield to bitterness, the humanity and meticulous crafting with which Jeremy Page interweaves "the memories, the household gods, the rituals of family life" not only elicit our sympathies but establish a haunting quality that permeates his collection. Deftly juxtaposed with the touching detail and sound-patterns of 'Shaving my Father' are moments of understated humour and incongruity, even tragi-comedy: a Magrittian explosion, a grandmother watching wrestling on tv, his being mistaken for Elton John. An enticing evocation of seaside resorts in and out of season, and a clutch of unpredictable encounters, provide a wide range of pleasures – if with the threat of snowfall, and longing, never far away."

Stewart Conn

"Closing Time visits the mysteries of boyhood and manhood, exploring how time and memory interact with our loves and lives. Tender and canny, reflective but never sombre, surreal yet firmly of this world, Page's poems are distinguished by compassion, wit and a linguist's true precision.'"

Clare Best


Point of Departure

In this station buffet
Trevor and Celia occupy a corner table,
their backs turned discreetly towards me.
The soundtrack is Rachmaninov –
his second, of course – and
hanging in the air, tangible
as the snowdrops on each table,
is the prospect of somewhere else:
a once-in-a-lifetime adventure,
one-way ticket to some distant,
improbable destination, involving
danger, acts of derring-do,
sex that's passionate and illicit
and the strange allure of death.

I order a coffee (large and white)
from a waiter who clearly
doesn't understand it's Mockney
he should be speaking
and, as Trevor rises, I note
that he's Chinese and Celia's
a man, and a hirsute one
at that. Suddenly it's not
Rachmaninov who's playing
but The Beatles, and I picture myself
in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees
and marmalade skies. And I am there.

(from Closing Time)

Closing Time

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