The late John Betjeman, one of our most popular Poet Laureates wrote poetry for the masses and not great complex complicated poems like some do. It is because of this that he has remained so popular, with possibly the exception of persons living in Slough (the poem of which is in this collection). Some of his poems are definitely autobiographical as well as others that show his razor sharp wit. In all there are sixty poems in this selection by Hugo Williams, which cover a whole range of his works.
In public Betjeman never took himself seriously, but as his poetry shows he was a keenly intelligent man. If you haven't read Betjeman before you are in for a treat with poems that are about suburbia, the country and the seaside, along with the first yearnings of childhood sexual awakening. When modernists were churning out their poems Betjeman kept his more traditional and simple. These poems come alive as you read them and can be enjoyed by everyone. This book is a real cornucopia and I'm sure that everyone has their favourites, indeed I always laugh when I read 'Invasion Exercise on the Poultry Farm'. There is great comedy in this poem, where a lesbian finds her partner in the arms of a paratrooper. Not only was he a poet but with his help St Pancras was saved. When he was at Oxford he took his teddy-bear Archibald Ormsby-Gore with him. This bear was the inspiration for Aloysius, Sebastian Flyte's teddy-bear in Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited'.
When I think of Betjeman I think of Sunday afternoons in the summertime and if you have a garden this is the perfect book to take outside and read whilst having a cold drink.