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The Poet Reclining Ken Smith

The Poet Reclining By Ken Smith

The Poet Reclining by Ken Smith

Condition - Very Good
Only 2 left


Ken Smith's first retrospective, covering work published from 1962 to 1980, including his long poem Fox Running, as well as some previously unpublished poems. It does not include work from two recent titles, Burned Books (1981) and Abel Baker (1982).

The Poet Reclining Summary

The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980 by Ken Smith

'Anyone who despairs of contemporary verse should be led by the hand to this book,' wrote P.J. Kavanagh in 1967, reviewing Ken Smith's first book The Pity in The Guardian. He went on: 'If his starkness does not freeze into an attitude, and there are signs already that it will not, he may be a very necessary poet indeed.' Ken Smith has become just that: a major poet whose work has not stood still, whose poetry is vitally important because it challenges our view of the world. Ken Smith is a poet of vision, but what is rare about his vision is that it is not fixed but shifts its perceptions and changes its bearings from one place or culture to another. In The Poet Reclining we follow not only the development of Ken Smith's poetry during the past 20 years but also his persistent stalking and shaping through language of his relation to the world. Ken Smith's roots are portable, and his work has developed in response to many places: from the remote rural Yorkshire of his childhood to the landscapes of south-west England and America, and latterly - in the brilliant long poem Fox Running - to the hostile urban environment of London. Moving through the poems, through the world, are the wanderers: the fatherm Tristan, Urias, Eli. And Fox, exiled in the city, a broken man faking his own death. All these figures relate to the Wanderer and Seafarer of the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book, whose presence is felt throughout The Poet Reclining in echoes from the two poems and evocations of their author. In his most recent poems, including the title-poem, a meditation on Chagall's painting 'The Poet Reclining', Ken Smith presents some interim conclusions. The wanderer finds home in the very condition of rootlessness. Fox forgives his betrayers. The poet is rehearsing his life, dreaming, relaxing, reclining.

About Ken Smith

Ken Smith (1938-2003) was a major voice in world poetry, a writer whose work shifted territory with time, from land to city, from Yorkshire, America and London to war-ravaged Eastern Europe. He was called 'the godfather of the new poetry' because his politically edgy, cuttingly colloquial, muscular poetry influenced a whole generation of younger British poets, from Simon Armitage to Carol Ann Duffy. Ken Smith was born in Rudston, East Yorkshire, the son of an itinerant farm labourer. He worked in Britain and America as a teacher, freelance writer, barman, magazine editor, potato picker, BBC reader and creative writing fellow, and was writer-in-residence at Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1985-87. He received America's highly prestigious Lannan Literary Award for Poetry in 1997, and a Cholmondeley Award in 1998. Ken Smith was the first poet to be published by Bloodaxe, with his pamphlet Tristan Crazy in 1978. Smith's first book, The Pity, was published by Jonathan Cape in 1967, and his second, Work, distances/poems, by Swallow Press, Chicago, in 1972. His early books span a transition from his preoccupation with land and myth (when he lived in Yorkshire, Devon and America) to his later engagement with urban Britain and the politics of radical disaffection (when he lived in East London). The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980 (Bloodaxe, 1982; reissued 1989) covers the first half of his writing career. In 1986 Ken Smith's collection Terra was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award. In 1987 Bloodaxe published his collected prose, A Book of Chinese Whispers. Four of his collections, Terra (1986), Wormwood (1987), The heart, the border (1990) and Tender to the Queen of Spain (1993), were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. His last separate collection, Wild Root (1998), a Poetry Book Society Choice, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. All these collections are included in his second Bloodaxe compilation, Shed: Poems 1980-2001 (2002), the sequel to The Poet Reclining. In 1989 Harrap published Inside Time, Ken Smith's book about imprisonment, about Wormwood Scrubs and the men he met there. This was published in paperback by Mandarin in 1990. Ken Smith was working in Berlin when the Wall came down, writing a book about East and West Berlin: this turned into Berlin: Coming in from the Cold (Hamish Hamilton, 1990; Penguin paperback, 1991. He edited Klaonica: poems for Bosnia (Bloodaxe Books, 1993) with Judi Benson, and with Matthew Sweeney co-edited Beyond Bedlam (Anvil Press Poetry, 1997), a book of poems by mentally ill people. He died on 27 June 2003 from a hospital infection caught while being treated for Legionnaires' Disease, which he had contracted months earlier in Cuba. His last poems were published in You Again: last poems & other words (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) along with other uncollected work, tributes from other poets, photographs, a biographical portrait and interviews covering the whole range of his life and work. His Collected Poems was published by Bloodaxe in October 2018, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the publication of Bloodaxe's first title, Ken Smith's Tristan Crazy (1978), and with what would have been his 80th birthday.

Additional information

The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980 by Ken Smith
Used - Very Good
Bloodaxe Books Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

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