Kingsley Amis at Princeton, New Jersey, May 1959

Come into the garden, Maude,

you faithless American faculty wife.

Strife? Christ, girl, there’ll be no strife.

Your husband, Linguistics Professor Claude,

saw your foot tease my cock to life

under the table, which he ignored.

No wonder you yank girls are bored:

I’d have gone for someone like me with a knife.

Ciggie? Well, you’re a sport. Our time just flew.

Now go back to the dinner, don’t get all soppy,

and send me out another wife or two.

Come on, love, no need to get stroppy,

you’ve got super tits and you’ll make great copy;

Sure I’ll put you in a book, or a girl just like you.

2 thoughts on “Kingsley Amis at Princeton, New Jersey, May 1959

  1. Thank you. I’m pleased with it, by my own standards.

    But Amis hated Dryden, Pope, Shelley, Chaucer, Beowulf, Dylan Thomas, and many more, so I don’t think I’d even have got my foot in the door with him. Also, a couple of the lines are technically pretty weak, though I’ve disguised the weaknesses as best I can.

    One weakness is that word “strife”. That’s why I’ve suggested that Maude used it first, and Amis puts her down for using it. Maybe it works as a character point, but it’s also hiding the fact that I needed it as a rhyme word. The only other choice is “rife”, which is worse. He’d have spotted that, and demanded more work, I’m sure.

    He might have liked the reference to Tennyson in line 1, since T was probably the pre-20th century poet Amis liked best. He edited and annotated a Tennyson anthology, one of his rarer books.

    “You’ve got super tits” is right, for 1959. But I’m not sure about “stroppy”; would people have said that word then? Bloody Amis would have known. That man had an incredible ear.

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