Permanently Bard: Selected Poetry by Tony Harrison Bloodaxe, pounds 7.9 5
Saturday 12 August 1995
This new edition of his selected poems is a disappointment, however. Being an "educational edition" for schools, the book has as much burdensome textual apparatus as poetry. And there is an unattractive element of hero- worship about Carol Rutter's introduction: "In the image I am focusing on, however, the workbook is in the background. My close-up is on the hands. This poet, my image wants to say, is a manual labourer. He is a word-wright. He is of the working-class. The material he works in is words. His work-books, the works literally of his hands, are to the poet what his baker-father's loaves are." Do we need all this misty-eyed guff, this heroicising of a job well done? It is not unusual for a poet to write with his hands. It is not exceptional to use words.
In spite of the fact that the selection from Harrison's published poetry is generally good and representative of the range of his preoccupations - through his early struggles into eloquence to the marvellous "A Kumquat for John Keats" and other longer poems. It is all excellent - but there is not enough of it.
The book does one thing, however, that the earlier Selected failed to do - it takes in extracts from the public poetry written for the stage: "Agammemnon", "Medea", "Square Rounds", "Trackers of Oxyrhyncus", and even a page or two from the "Poetry or Bust", a dramatic rendering of the life of the Airedale poet John Nicholson.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Comic-Con 2014: Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones' George RR Martin set to attend
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
George R. R. Martin responds to 13-year-old fan's 'heartfelt' letter asking for a grisly death in Game of Thrones
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air