Poet, essayist and all-round international man of letters, Clive James, was diagnosed with leukemia and emphysema in 2010. He wasn’t expected to survive long, but he’s still here, and writing the best work of his life. And this is largely, he says, because of death. There is nothing like intimations of your own mortality to sharpen your focus on what makes life worth living:
I am here now, who was hardly even there.”
In 2015 he published what he thought would be his farewell collection of poetry, Sentenced to Life. Last year, kicking on, as it were, like “an exhausted footballer with legs of lead”, he published another collection, called (with typical Clive James wit) Injury Time.