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Café Talk

Thomas Blackburn

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Tom Blackburn
Added by: Paul Newman
Blackburn had a rather restricted upbringing - his father was a clergyman of the old school - in which sexual expression was denied or derided. When he grew up, he found reading Freud and D.H. Lawrence a tremendous release. He believed he had powerful insight into the mechanics of repression, and this poem seems to hint that people are unable to open out emotionally owing to guilts and inhibions accrued from past behaviour. The poet is looking for some honesty in his mistress or girlfriend, for a direct and honest self. But there is not crystalline openness, only rinding and little bits of glitter. (Blackburn hints that we seek out bits of ourselves as they are refracted in others.) Also she does not like the way the poet speaks - he keeps on going on. But in a sense he is hardened to not communicating and I think they leave the restaurant and sexual contact takes place which completes the evening for him. He wants nothing else and at the end there is a hint of bleak satisfaction. At passionate, honest poem, quite fierce, but not particularly positive, though this is only the most superficial reaction, and I will be glad it someone else can put me right.
Added by: Missy
I think that was quite succinct, actually.

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