This is a terrific anthology of poetry and if I were still teaching I would buy a set for my Sixth-form without thinking twice. There is a flavour of excitement in this ‘Sea Pie’, a newness that is neither obtrusively academic nor mundanely accepting: these are the sort of poems which wake one up to the echoing sound of language in which experience is both personal and yet recognisably ‘other’. If real thought is ‘man in his wholeness wholly attending’ [D.H. Lawrence] then these poems reflect exactly that.
Peter Hughes places the anthology emphatically and with modest care in his fine introduction:
‘In the spirit of the best English poetry of the past, these poets have opted to move on. They make it new without resorting to gimmicks, make it aesthetically potent rather than merely decorative, and make it contemporary rather than modish. When you are dealing with the very new, as we are here, the merit of individual works of art is bound to be disputed. Some will be ignored, some dismissed, especially by those still relishing the styles of 1956. But, to paraphrase John James, it wasn’t like 1956 in 1956 either.’
This essential volume for those who want to taste the new recipes with the old ingredients can be purchased from Shearsman Books: www.shearsman.com