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Anthony Burgess wrote a poem about how you shouldn’t read A Clockwork Orange.


November 16, 2020, 12:52pm

Recently, scholars unearthed a trove of unpublished love poems by Anthony Burgess—and, as it turns out, a few hate poems too. In one of the newly discovered verses, “A Sonnet for the Emery Collegiate Institute,” Burgess gleefully insults A Clockwork Orange, the work for which he’s arguably best known, and advises students to read the classics instead:

…Advice: don’t read
A Clockwork Orange—it’s a foul farrago
Of made-up words that bite and bash and bleed.
I’ve written better books…so have other men, indeed.
Read Hamlet, Shelley, Keats, Doctor Zhivago.

(Layman’s translation of “foul farrago”: heinous hodgepodge.)

If you want to read the rest of the poem, you’ll have to wait for December—when “A Sonnet for the Emery Collegiate Institute,” along with more unknown Burgess poems including love poems written to each of his two wives, will be published in a 450-page compilation entitled Anthony Burgess: Collected Poems. In the meantime, you can get your Burgess fix by checking out this series of drawings Burgess made on manuscripts throughout his career.

[via The Guardian]

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