Who is Jasper Brandisi?
Born in Palermo, Sicily in 1929, Jasper Brandisi was a poet, writer and academic.
Raised in London by his mother and stepfather, Jasper attended Eton School from the age of eight, followed by Trinity College, Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1951 with a B.A. in Mathematics. During his time there, he edited and wrote for the influential student magazine, Granta.
His prose was also published in the leading British humour magazine, Punch from 1947. Jasper was to become an assistant editor in 1957 and he contributed to the magazine for the remainder of his life, always adopting pseudonyms. He was a talented cricketer and played for two amateur cricket clubs: the New Allahakbarries and the Authors XI. In 1954, he returned to Cambridge and completed a first-class degree in English Literature.
Jasper wrote seven plays and one published novel, The Blue House Mystery (1952). He also wrote for cinema, writing four stories filmed between 1949 and 1956 for the independent British film company Minerva Films.
- The Rump, starring Leslie Howard
- Twice Nine, featuring Gracie Fields
- Ten Pound Reward starring Will Hay
- Bookworms, the final film appearance by George Formby.
Jasper had met Formby when the performer starred in Jasper’s play, Travelling Down from Rochdale.
Jasper Brandisi published two books of poetry:
- Collected Poems (1964: Incus Press, London)
- Blazing Fruit: Selected Poems 1942-1972 (1976: Penguin Books, London)
HAZY SEE (1957) extract
When tempestuous sea washes the horizon,
hazy and hopeless like a seaman’s wet dream;
the maker of intrinsic dolls seems hapless, hopeless, harmless
beside the man between closed doors.
You can’t bank people’s promises,
said the Joker to his brief…
DREAMS OF CAKE AND CLARET (1958) extract
I dreamt I saw Marie Antoinette,
alive with flaming breath
and I dreamt she lusted after me
and had me put to death.
“You can never be mine!”
her voice betraying guilt
“Until your sword is up
And my passageway’s been built.”
Life in loneliness
is like a blizzard
Where does the snow begin?
Where does the whiteness end?