“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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03 February 2013

ON ACCOUNT OF MY MOUTH BEING BLIND

George Grainger Aldridge sent this brilliant cartoon to me for inclusion in our forthcoming funny book.  We all know this bloke. It sure made me laugh, but also brought to mind a poem I wrote when I was just a kid: something which isn't at all funny.



on account of my mouth being blind


for nineteen paper years
when they said look
i turned my mouth to the sunsets and the gums and the views
and on account of my mouth being blind I didn’t see

of course there were the fresh green
rich days of farming growing up in me
drinking straight from the cow’s tit

and of course there were the fresh green early girls
honestly knowing no further than a kiss
i loved it

and there grew the knowledge of loneliness
grown into with hay and hill pines
not resulting from being the only
sometimes i loved that too

and i came to feel the real of people
the beast in them
the self in their deeds and their minds and their souls
and in me
and in me

but anyway
when you think of it
i’ve really only crumpled nineteen paper years from a bloody huge book
i’ve taken them shyly and torn them loose
and there’s many left
and they’re blowing away already
and they’re falling in the fire
and they’re falling in the streams
and o god how am i
o god I’m the litterbug of the universe

o god my dreams







philip white
kanmantoo
september 1971

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