The book as a whole is a tour de force, an important debut as well as a promise of riches to come.” Written in a wide variety of forms and genres, and transcending the familiar alternatives of traditionalism and modernism, From Now to Then, like Then and Now, is a demanding but highly readable long poem that is neither populist nor elitist but will reward anyone who spends time on it.
Time, as it happens, is one of its subjects. Starting and ending only a few years after the first volume starts and ends, From Now to Then continues the work’s poem-by-poem (and note-by-note) creation of a Borgesian “imaginary identity” in the process of uncovering and/or attempting to understand the nature of his (and anyone’s) freedom and unfreedom. Only by observing the effects of our histories on ourselves can we be free of them.
“Forgetting is forgiving”, as Borges’ Cain explains to Abel, who can no longer remember who killed whom – but first of all, paradoxically, one needs to know what one has to forget. Hence the retrospective structure of the book – and also its future- and now-orientation.
W.D.Jackson was born in Liverpool in 1947 and grew up on Merseyside. Apart from frequent visits to the UK and Ireland, he has lived and worked abroad – In Italy and since 1973, in South Germany.