David Constantine is an English poet known also for his translations of poets such as Enzensberger, Brecht, Goethe, Hölderlin, Kleist and Jaccottet. His poetry stands outside the current literary climate, and like the work of the European and English poets who have nourished him, it is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. Its mood is often one of unease, elegiac or comically edged, barbed with pain or tinged with pleasure. His poems hold a worried and restless balance between celebration and anxiety, restraint and longing. His early influences included Graves, Lawrence and Edward Thomas, poets he admired ‘for their passion and attention to the real and the mythic world’; other poets important for him and his work would include Keats, Wordsworth, Clare and Hardy.
Neil Astley filmed Constantine reading a selection of his poems at his home in Oxford in October 2007. All seven poems included here are from his COLLECTED POEMS, published in 2004 by Bloodaxe Books. The poems are ‘New Year Behind the Asylum’, ‘Eldon Hole’, ‘The Wasps’,’Something for the Ghosts’, ‘Legger’, ‘Common and Particular’ and ‘Watching for Dolphins’. This film is from the DVD-anthology IN PERSON: 30 POETS, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).