Toss the monkey wrench

August Kleinzahler

  • Collected Poems by Lee Harwood
    Shearsman, 522 pp, £17.95, May 2004, ISBN 0 907562 40 X

Fulcrum Press, a small poetry publisher, operated out of 20 Fitzroy Square in London between 1965 and 1972. I don’t know of a more important or influential publisher of poetry in recent history, or one which achieved so much in so narrow a window of time. The press was founded by a 26-year-old physician-poet from what was then Rhodesia called Stuart Montgomery, the author of a remarkable long poem entitled Circe, adapted loosely from the Odyssey and clearly influenced by Basil Bunting. If Fulcrum had achieved nothing else, the publication of Bunting’s long poem Briggflatts in 1966 and his Collected Poems in 1968 would have secured its importance. But the Bunting books were only two of more than thirty volumes of adventurous and neglected poetry in the late Modernist tradition from both sides of the Atlantic.

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