Dear esteemed and noble reader,
If I came across a Jane Basil poem published in the Oxford Companion to English Poetry, I would not think it out of place. Jane Basil is a Great Slut-Goddess of Poetry and her very best work could easily stand comparison to some of the most beautiful, moving, and meaningful poems in the English language.
Sceptical? Go and read Promises! Read that one Basil poem, then tell me whether you concur with me. Your call, but please don’t make your call until at least you have read Promises.
If there be any reason not to include Jane in an Oxford Companion, that reason would need to be discarded were she to turn her attention to the allegedly more “important” topics of life, such as the nature of truth, the essence of humanity, the human yearning to be renewed, reborn into life.
Jane focuses on the common, everyday concerns of lovers, friends, and people in their relationships to others. The Oxford folk seem to focus on the “larger things”. But that’s about the only way a Basil poem would not readily and instantly be recognised as fit for inclusion in a Companion.
Jane lives in a small town in a rural area of England that is of no possible consequence to anyone except its indigenous people. Quite tactfully put, both she and her village are too distant and too removed from my cottage in Colorado to much matter to the world. Her poetry, however, is every bit as fresh, exciting, beautiful, spirited, meaningful, and insightful as she herself and her town are not.
It has been said by many scurrilous sorts that I envy Jane her superior talent and skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can make a thorough search of my writings about the wicked old sod and you will find nothing that even hints I am in the least bit envious of her awesome talent to humiliate me.
I hope you are satisfied now, Jane. I hope you feel I have now worked off my five pound debt to you for losing our bet that you’ve seen bigger, more impressive biceps than mine. I wrote your damn About Page for you. Are we cool now?
— Paul Sunstone, Poetry Critic, Cafe Philos blog.