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A Steady Light

Lee Harwood, 19 June 2014

... Mid-afternoon   a light breeze sways the worn blue curtain. Could this be Alexandria? – I think not – but some provincial city? seaport? And the year? In a cluttered office, dust on the ledges, the books in perfect order, the accounts all up to date, the correspondence answered and filed. Evening dreams   stories of emperors and patriarchs, stories of moments when it could have been different but wasn’t ...

The Oak Coffer

Lee Harwood, 8 August 2013

... for my uncle, Alfred Miles 1909-87 ‘they created a desert, and they call it peace’* and that could have been said of Carthage, though it wasn’t. It was much closer to home. Scattered blocks of stone, and dust, the stumps of houses. And now left with men who lie, no matter what, for little reason, vanity or fear, but who lie, amid smiling cruelty ...

Ben’s Photo

Lee Harwood, 5 April 2012

... for Kelvin Corcoran Just off the main square at the entrance to a crowded narrow street – this is in Bologna, 1992 – a man stood erect, hands behind his back, watching something, or just waiting. A man about 60 or 70, wearing a cloth cap, an old suit jacket, a worn but neatly ironed shirt, neatly buttoned. No tie. An afternoon in winter. Don’t know why ...

On Lee Harwood

August Kleinzahler: Lee Harwood, 9 April 2015

The Orchid Boat 
by Lee Harwood.
Enitharmon, 48 pp., £8.99, July 2014, 978 1 907587 53 5
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... In​  The Orchid Boat, the most recent of his more than 25 collections, Lee Harwood lights out from his seaside eyrie in Hove to many places, real, dreamed of or imagined: New Zealand, north-east India (‘where the Khasi people still sing some/hymns in Welsh’), fourth-century Alexandria, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, 15th-century Constantinople, Bologna in 1992, Amiens during the First World War, the T’ien-t’ai Mountains in China, the Rhinog mountains in Snowdonia, the beach at Harlech ...

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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... Jones’s The Tribune’s Visitation, an early collection by Christopher Middleton, and three by Lee Harwood. The publishing provenance of an outsider poet like Harwood can tell you a lot about his work: Fulcrum, Oasis Books, Pig Press, Galloping Dog, Paladin, Slow Dancer, North and South, Leafe ...

A Wine Tale

August Kleinzahler, 12 February 2009

... For Lee Harwood Behind the château, its celebrated ‘candle-snuffer’ towers and Gothic traceries engraved and worn proudly on the labels of how many bottles of Pinot and Bourgogne, the old caretaker sleeps in the shadow of the cistern, its wood sweating and frayed, the autumnal, late afternoon light bringing to this rustic tableau the kind of orange-tinted, unworldly radiance he would remember from his childhood, viewing scenes from Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood in the family attic, having stolen off with his big sister’s cherished stereoscope ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding, 3 July 1997

Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... Twenty-five, thirty years after the best of them began to publish – John James, Chris Torrance, Lee Harwood, Andrew Crozier, Peter Riley, J.H. Prynne, Michael Haslam, Douglas Oliver, Barry MacSweeney, Denise Riley – they must nonetheless wonder, from time to time, whether theirs is a case of having missed the boat which would only have been worth ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth, 19 August 2004

Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... of literacy. Young lecturers, intense in leather jackets, peddled Raworth. ‘Read Raworth and Harwood,’ they said. ‘They’re the best we have.’ And there they were, Tom Raworth and Lee Harwood, linked in a Penguin, like Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn before them, markers for a generation. So where did it all go ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... Montgomery’s Fulcrum Press had published Roy Fisher, Lorine Niedecker, Robert Duncan and Lee Harwood, and seemed poised to become the publisher the British Poetry Revival of those years needed to counterbalance the waning radical commitments of the post-Eliot Faber list. Reprinting Finlay’s 1960 volume The Dancers Inherit the Party in ...


Michael Hofmann: James Schuyler, 7 February 2002

Last Poems 
by James Schuyler.
Slow Dancer, 64 pp., £7.99, January 1999, 1 871033 51 9
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Alfred and Guinevere 
by James Schuyler.
NYRB, 141 pp., £7.99, June 2001, 0 940322 49 8
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... time is his secret.’ Well, perhaps the critic should have tried harder to get it out of him. Lee Harwood in his afterword to Schuyler’s Last Poems enthuses about ‘poems where the poet is not an isolated heroic figure but a social creature enjoying or enduring the “ordinary” experiences of life’. ...

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