The Saner Places, By Alan Brownjohn


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The Independent Culture

Alan Brownjohn published his first collection fully half a century ago. His tough, witty, curious verse represents a living link with the "Group" and the irreverent poetry of the Angry Young Men period.

This 80th birthday selection spans his career. Its invigorating commentary on changing times and moods always arrives in lively and appealing forms: from the young verse rebel's dystopian lyric about "the only rabbit in England/ Sitting behind a barbed-wire fence" to the post-"war on terror" Audenesque lament, "December 31st 2009".

Cool, sharp, bracing, the Brownjohn micro-climate always feels salutary. He invites readers to assent to the question: "Could we not ourselves form a flock/ Migrating to common sense?"