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.