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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Peter Hughes from Reality Street

Peter Hughes from Reality Street

Peter Hughes is a prolific poet and an increasingly confident one. His lyrical tone is juxtaposed with a passionate concern for getting things right and his mordant sense of humour adds both grace and depth to his writing. This new collection from Ken Edwards’s Reality Street publications, Allotment Architecture, contains five major sequences, ‘Lynn Deeps’, ‘Behoven’, ‘Site Guide’, ‘18’ and ‘Berlioz’. Behoven appeared of course as an Oystercatcher in 2009 and John Hall’s account of it is essential reading (‘An intuition of the particular’, some essays on the poetry of Peter Hughes, Shearsman Press 2013). Some selections from ‘Lynn Deeps’ and ‘18’ appeared in the recent Shearsman selected Hughes but it is a delight to be able now to read the whole pieces and recognise their breadth and continuity. It is always refreshing to read Peter’s work and I wholly endorse Peter Riley’s comments on the back of this new volume where he refers to the ‘reassurance to readers that all of the many forms in which experience and language confront us are open to our own powers and defences’. The next major publication must now surely be a collected Petrarch which will gather together Peter’s splendidly vivid interpretations of the Italian poet: fourteenth century Avignon informing the Norfolk coast-line. Perhaps the dedication of this volume to his parents and to Cliff Hughes says it all: ‘This book is dedicated to my parents, Mary Hughes and the late Cliff Hughes, who showed me early on how to get off the path in order to explore, and who continue to support these explorations in different ways.’


Allotment Architecture is published by Reality Street, 63 All Saints Street, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3BN.


Ian Brinton



Bohemians, Beats And Blues People

Bohemians, Beats And Blues People

Jim Burns’ fourth collection, Bohemians, Beats And Blues People (PPP 2013), illuminates neglected twentieth century bohemians through wide-ranging and highly informative essays.  Like his previous collections, Beats, Bohemians and Intellectuals, (2000), Radicals, Beats and Beboppers (2011) and Brits, Beats & Outsiders (2012), this book uncovers neglected sources and questions received perceptions of history and movements. Richly documented, the essays are not only informative but also clearly written. There are unexpected delights, such as an essay on the painter, John Craxton, close friend of Lucian Freud and Johnny Minton, as well as an essay In Praise of Booksellers and another on Harry Kemp, the Tramp Poet.

The book examines how the Beats were published in Britain; explores London’s Soho Bohemianism and Café Society and questions the depth and interests of the Sixties ‘underground.’ Burns sees more losses than gains and doubts how far there was any alternative in the underground press. There are essays on writers as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut, B.Traven, Gregory Corso and Gilbert Sorrentino.

Burns explores the philosophy behind Trevin, who had a long publishing career, using many different names, and whose politics made it prudent to conceal his true identity. John Huston adapted his novel, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, into a film, starring Humphrey Bogart. There are evaluations of several significant little magazines, including This Quarter, Kulchur and Evergreen Review. There are also two long essays rhythm ‘n’ blues and its transition into rock ‘n’ roll as well as one on Jack Kerouac’s jazz interests. This book is stuffed full with solidly researched detail and, as such, it is providing its readership with a deep understanding how writers and poets get published and what may happen as a result.

David Caddy

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