William Wootten

William Wootten sells books, when not reviewing them.

Alonenesses: Alun Lewis and ‘Frieda’

William Wootten, 5 July 2007

Alun Lewis is usually remembered as a war poet or, more precisely, as a soldier poet. ‘All Day It Has Rained’ is familiar to those who know nothing else about its author and to some who don’t usually read poetry. Ian Hamilton edited a selection of Lewis’s work, and there is a good biography by John Pikoulis. But his achievement has been hard to focus on. He moved...

In the Circus: Low-Pressure Poetry

William Wootten, 3 August 2006

Kenneth Koch (pronounced coke’) could do a mean impersonation of William Carlos Williams. ‘This is Just to Say’, Williams’s note asking forgiveness for eating the plums in the icebox which ‘you were probably/saving/for breakfast’ on the grounds that they were ‘so sweet/and so cold’, gets the Koch treatment in ‘Variations on a Theme...

Watermonster Blues: Edwin Morgan

William Wootten, 18 November 2004

Poems of science and science fiction, history and politics, love poems, comic poems, social realist or surrealist poems, dialogues and monologues, newspaper poems, Beat poems, concrete poems, sound poems and sonnets burst out of the pages of Edwin Morgan’s Collected. If he can’t do everything, it’s not for want of trying.

Now in his eighties, Morgan is the most influential...

At The Thirteenth Hour: David Jones

William Wootten, 25 September 2003

David Jones was staying in the Chelsea flat of the BBC’s Assistant Director of Programme Planning, Harman Grisewood, as the bombs fell on London in the autumn of 1940. During one raid, a near miss blew a bus off course; it went through the window of Sainsbury’s on the King’s Road. ‘I was going out to see if I could do anything,’ Grisewood reported. ‘When I...

In the Graveyard of Verse: Vernon Watkins

William Wootten, 9 August 2001

Some writers attract faint praise. Vernon Watkins is more damned by it than most: he is the serene Watkins, walking the Gower peninsula in a cloud of unworldly Christianity, Yeats and (very) late Symbolism; he is also the worthy Watkins, the man who spent his adult life working in a bank, refusing all promotion while perfecting his poetic craft. Good behaviour and a friendship with Philip...

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