Gareth Reeves

Gareth Reeves teaches English at the University of Durham. His first collection of poems, Real Stories, was published last October by Carcanet, and he is a co-editor of Poetry Durham. He is the son of the poet James Reeves, who is remembered in the poem published in this issue.

Poem: ‘Making it’

Gareth Reeves, 9 July 1987

He taught me to say ‘blacks’ without blenching. At his party I was the only white but did my waspish best not to notice. Though a student in my Freshman class, he was seasoned. He showed me a thing or two.

‘You press this button and look the antenna goes up,’ taking me for a ride in his brand-new sports car which flew along Skyline Boulevard. I bought his old car; it...

Three Poems

Gareth Reeves, 7 August 1986

Look, No Mirror

In a corner of our garage lurks his medicine cabinet I thought would come in handy. It smells as strong as it ever did of his potions and lotions, and mostly of his electric after-shave.

His desk had a hook which carried the wire from the plug to his shaver. Each morning before work he’d fish the Remington out of a drawer, plug in, and then lean back to a contemplative...

Poem: ‘Bob Tombs’

Gareth Reeves, 17 April 1986

the bar-flies called him. At seventy he still dived – ‘Always get my head wet before my feet’ – and climbed the Deyá hills, goatish, quixotic, tilting at something. He raced me to the top, where he said, ‘A gentleman never pinches his best friend’s girl,’ which is just what I was doing, in secret. So the old boy really is a wizard ...

It was the...

Poem: ‘A Funny Smell’

Gareth Reeves, 3 October 1985

‘It couldn’t have,’ said the rat man, ‘Warfarin makes them head for the open, gasping.’ It had slunk under the floor to decompose. Father: ‘It’s Brooke again, he’s smelling’ – Brooke being the critic who had slammed him – and we’d chorus it round the house, holding our noses.

Not the stuff of poetry, rotting rats. Yeats...

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