Friday, 10 September 2010

The poetry of Tony Blair

Since the publication of A Journey, much has been made of Tony Blair’s writing style, and his rather touching pride in it, but I believe one aspect of it has been missed. I think someone once produced a book called The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld pointing out that the gnomic statements of the former US Defense Secretary actually made much more sense if you arranged them into lines that finished before the end of the page. I have found that some passages of our former PM’s memoirs can also be turned into poems. See what you think: I contend that there is something of the delicious ambiguity of Wallace Stevens, or perhaps John Ashbery, about them.

For GB

Our minds moved fast and at that point in sync.
When others were present,
We felt the pace and power diminish,
Until, a bit like lovers desperate to get to love-making
But disturbed by old friends dropping round,
We would try to bustle them out,
Steering them doorwards.


I can say that I never did guess
The nightmare that unfolded
And that too is part of the responsibility.
But the notion of responsibility
Indicates not a burden to discharge
But a burden that continues.
Regret can seem bound
To the past.
Responsibility has its present
And future tense.

I forgot to say that I’m appearing at an event at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road on Sunday 12th at 4.45pm, a panel on ‘How to write non-fiction’. Hope someone can tell me …


  1. Hi Joe. Is there any chance you could post the results of your talk here? I love your books and would love to hear more about how you write the way you do. If you know, that is...

  2. Thanks Ann. It wasn't really a talk - just a Q&A with three other authors. If I can put my thoughts in any coherent form I will post them on here one day ...