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11 April 2013
Collected Poems 
by Edward Dorn.
Carcanet, 995 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84777 126 1
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... The publication in Britain of EdwardDorn’s Collected Poems is a big moment, a bonfire of the verities, for the embattled tribe of local enthusiasts, veterans of old poetry wars who are still, more or less, standing. Dorn’s face is news ...

Toss the monkey wrench

August Kleinzahler: Lee Harwood’s risky poems

19 May 2005
Collected Poems 
by Lee Harwood.
Shearsman, 522 pp., £17.95, May 2004, 9780907562405
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... only two of more than thirty volumes of adventurous and neglected poetry in the late Modernist tradition from both sides of the Atlantic. Of the Americans, Fulcrum published three volumes each by EdwardDorn and Gary Snyder, the early work, which has proved to be their best and most enduring. Fulcrum also published two important early collections by Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg’s Ankor Wat and ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... Looking a little further, we find that Gunn and Davie between them do something that has still not been taken on board in Britain: they engage with a post-Poundian poetic tradition (Charles Olson, EdwardDorn, Robert Duncan, George Oppen) of a kind that gives modern American poetry its variety and experimentalism. Gunn and Davie are included in both anthologies, but to read their collected poems (the ...
20 October 1994
Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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...  Idaho camptowns, feathery silver markets on the far tip of the right wing. He’s got a couple of quarts of blackberries in his arms, picked with the morning dew, five hundred miles away.’ EdwardDorn.) Even Ben Watson, whose poodle parlour is wall to wall with off-piste names, admits (in conversation) that he has never been introduced to Woolf’s work: ‘My book’s sub-plot is Philip K ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode

6 June 1985
The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... to American literature is not fully honoured, and the representation of Commonwealth writers and writing is very spotty. None of the following poets, all born before 1939, gets in: Ammons, Ashbery, Dorn, Hecht, Hollander, Zukofsky. Moby-Dick, here described as an ‘epic tragedy’, is summarised in about half the space devoted to Humphrey Clinker. Melville, like Hawthorne, gets the same wordage as ...

Cartoon Quality

Zachary Leader

6 December 1979
Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright 
by Steven Millhauser.
Routledge, 305 pp., £4.95
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A Prize Paradise 
by Oliver Pritchett.
Eyre Methuen, 171 pp., £4.95
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A Revenger’s Comedy 
by Derwent May.
Chatto, 191 pp., £5.95
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... metaphysical, implications. Jeffrey divides Edwin’s life into three periods: The Early Years (0-6), The Middle Years (6-9), and The Late Years (9 to 11). Its major episodes – the encounter with Edward Penn, aged seven, muralist; Edwin’s doomed love for the sullen Rose Dorn, third-grade femme fatale; Rose’s fiery end; the improbable friendship with Arnold Hasselstrom, inarticulate playground ...

On Rosemary Tonks

Patrick McGuinness: Rosemary Tonks

1 July 2015
... personal misfortunes and punishing forays into spiritualism. Her first book was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and among those who admired her work were Cyril Connolly and Al Alvarez. Edward Lucie-Smith included her in British Poetry since 1945 (1970) and Larkin put her in his Oxford Book of 20th-Century English Verse (1973). The living afterlife of her next forty years uncannily ...

The Court

Richard Eyre

23 September 1993
The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... English Stage Company for ever, was a play which now seems, for all its abrasive, excoriating, maudlin, self-pitying, iconoclastic rhetoric, to belong more to the world of Noël Coward than that of Edward Bond. Far from looking back in anger, it looks back with a fierce, despairing, nostalgia. Is there a more solipsistic cry from the post-war years – when the world has become better informed than ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan

2 April 1987
The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... while excluding Pound and Williams, the book seems more atavistic than Contemporary, and slanted into bias. Nothing in the objectivist or projective line is included. Olson is rejected, along with Dorn. A tradition of strong poetry, leading back through Stevens to Coleridge, Keats and Wordsworth is implied. Up to a point this will help the anthology appeal to English readers. It certainly makes a ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban

23 July 1987
Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... breath’ for metre and gossip for metaphor. Adrian Henri and Roger McGough, with their sedulous imitation of the faux-naif Modernism of e.e.cummings, were just as much part of the movement as Ed Dorn, Robert Creeley or Kenneth Koch. With his Essex Poems, even Donald Davie, the very type of the English conservative poet-critic, appeared to have capitulated to ‘American’ Modernism, just as the ...

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