Toss the monkey wrench
- 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.
Vol. 27 No. 12 · 23 June 2005
In his review of Lee Harwood’s Collected Poems, August Kleinzahler describes the activities of Stuart Montgomery’s Fulcrum Press in the late 1960s and early 1970s (LRB, 19 May). He doesn’t mention Montgomery’s final publication, my collection For the Flames (1974). This is hardly surprising because Montgomery’s bankruptcy coincided with a flood in his basement: almost the entire stock of For the Flames was drowned. A few copies did survive, though, and I would be interested to hear where they ended up.
Vol. 27 No. 14 · 21 July 2005
Donald Gardner asks about surviving copies of his book For the Flames, published by Fulcrum Press (Letters, 23 June). According to the international bibliographic database OCLC, there are copies at the libraries of Stanford University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, and in the British Library.
Lamont Library, Harvard University
Vol. 27 No. 16 · 18 August 2005
As well as the copies of Donald Gardner’s collection For the Flames which are listed by Don Share (Letters, 21 July), there is one in the Poetry Library. Floods in 1999 and 2000 damaged most of the books on the G-H shelves of our reference section. Miraculously, Gardner’s book survived and is now comfortably in storage, waiting for the Royal Festival Hall to reopen in 2007.
The Poetry Library, London SW1