British & Irish Poets (M-Z)

Helen Macdonald: Shaler's Fish (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, Devon, 2001. 62pp, pb, £20 h/c, £8.50 pb ).

This is an absolutely wonderful book and is the best British first collection I've read since the one by Michael Ayres mentioned on the first Recommendations page. The author is a naturalist and it shows, but the poems never descend to that patronising descriptive tone so beloved of far too many British nature-poets, or the awestruck meditation on animalistic power that was once so prevalent in English poetry. This is something startlingly new and original, which demands to be read, and taken seriously.

D.S. Marriott: Incognegro (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, 2006. isbn 9781844712618, 112pp, pb, £9.99 / $15.95); Hoodoo Voodoo (Shearsman Books, 2008. 140pp, pb, £9.95 / $17); The Bloods (Shearsman Books, 2011, 138pp, pb, £9.95 / $17).

Incognegro was a long-awaited debut collection—following several chapbooks—that proved what many of us knew already: D S Marriott is one of the most interesting new poets to emerge in the UK in recent years. Deeply serious work informed by the immigrant experience (at least the second-generation variety), black history, and radical poetics. One would be tempted to suggest that Marriott had been influenced by Nathaniel Mackey, his colleague at UC Santa Cruz, but that might be too easy an assumption. On the other hand, I can think of few better poets to have as an influence. I think Incognegro is a major achievement, and the two Shearsman collections that followed made it quite plain that Marriott should be taken very seriously indeed.

Anna MendelssohnImplacable Art (Folio & Equipage, Cambridge, 2000. Available from Salt Publishing. 136pp, pb, £7.95, $12.95, C$16.95, A$19.95).

This is the only full-length collection by Anna Mendelssohn, sometimes also known as Grace Lake. This is a poetry that makes its own rules; many of the poems do not begin and do not end: they seem to have been torn from life, blood still showing on the tattered edges. It is very hard work in places, but rewarding and relentlessly challenging.

Christopher Middleton: Collected Later Poems (Carcanet, Manchester, 2014. 390pp, paperback, £24.95); Collected Poems (Carcanet, Manchester, 2008. 700pp, paperback, £18.95);Poems 2006-2009 (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2010. 182pp, pb, £12.95/$20); A Company of Ghosts (Sheep Meadow Press, Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY, 2011. 99pp, pb, $15.95); Just Look at the Dancers (Sheep Meadow Press, Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY, 2012. 77pp, pb, $15.95); Palavers, and A Nocturnal Journal (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2004. 154pp, pb, £9.95); Of the Mortal Fire. Poems 1999-2002 (Sheep Meadow Press, Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY, pb, 110pp, $12.95); The Word Pavilion and Selected Poems (Carcanet; Sheep Meadow Press, 2001. 334pp, pb, £9.95 / $19.95); Intimate Chronicles (Carcanet; Sheep Meadow, 1996. 94pp, pb, £8.95 / $10.95); Twenty Tropes for Doctor Dark (Enitharmon Press, London, 2000. Limited edition (100 copies), 43pp, pb, £15).

Basically, all you need is the Collected, which is why I've dropped pictures of most of the other books above, and the Collected Later. The Collected is a mammoth volume, and a major achievement, and is also beautifully set and printed. It contains all of the published volumes up until 2006, including some that had only appeared previously in the USA, and thus is indispensable for British readers. It was my book of the year for 2008, and was followed by the Shearsman volume shown in the centre above, which is an addendum to the Collected as of 2009. The subsequent Sheep Meadow volumes further complete the picture. The Word Pavilion was a major collection of new work, coupled with a valuable career retrospective, making it a kind of New & Selected Poems as of 2001. Since all prior selected editions of Middleton's work are now out of print, this book is doubly valuable, and is recommended to those without the stamina for the Collected. In the UK the paperback edition of Pavilion is priced very cheaply at £9.95—excellent value for a 334-page volume. Middleton's previous collection, Intimate Chronicles, was in my view one of the finest poetry collections to appear in the 1990s.

Most of Middleton's older collections can only be obtained through the second-hand trade, but it is particularly worth digging for Our Flowers & Nice Bones (Fulcrum Press, London, 1969), Two Horse Wagon Going By (Carcanet, 1986) and The Balcony Tree (Carcanet, 1992). A collection of short prose pieces Crypto-Topographia appeared in 2002 from Enitharmon Books and will be of interest to anyone who enjoyed the remarkable earlier prose volumes Serpentine (Oasis Books, London; out of print) and In the Mirror of the Eighth King (Green Integer, Los Angeles). A typically odd novel, Descriptions of Blaff is also available from Green Integer. His translation work is covered in the splendid Carcanet volume Faint Harps and Silver Voices: Selected Translations (2000, o.o.p).

In 2004 Shearsman Books published a volume containing a long interview with Middleton, a selection from his journals of the late 1990s, and a memoir of the author by Marius Kociejowski. This book is Palavers, and A Nocturnal Journal. Even if I do say so myself, it's a great read. Further details here. Middleton's essays are masterpieces of their kind and can be found in the Carcanet volumes Jackdaw Diving and Bolshevism in Art.

David Miller: Collected Poems (University of Salzburg Press, Salzburg & Oxford, 1997. ISBN: 3-7052-0971-X, 109pp, pb, £8.95. See Poetry Salzburg); The Waters of Marah. Selected Prose 1973–1995 (Shearsman Books, 2005. 116pp, pb, £8.95; US edition (2002) available from Singing Horse Press of Philadelphia, and through SPD).

David Miller is Australian by origin, but has lived in the UK for 30 years, hence his position in this section. There are a number of books available by him and these two are the best introductions. Marah is a collection of prose texts which might well be regarded as poems; the book also includes Tesserae, a long-ish text best described as experimental fiction. The Collected Poems is slimmer than I would have expected, but Miller seems to be ruthless in cutting his work. This one contains all that he wished to preserve as of 1997; comments on notwithstanding, it is still available, although the publisher is now called Poetry Salzburg. You can expect a very large new Collected from Shearsman in 2014; follow the link in the title list above for more information as soon as it's available.

Billy Mills: Lares/Manes: Collected Poems (Shearsman Books, 2009. 360pp, pb, £13.95/$22); Letters from Barcelona (Dedalus Editions, Dublin, 1990. Pb, unpaginated, o.o.p.) A Small Book of Songs (Wild Honey Press, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 1998. 60pp, pb, €10); Five Easy Pieces (Shearsman Books, 1997. 32pp, chapbook, £4.50).

Three very different collections from an Irish poet of a decidedly modernist persuasion. The Dedalus book is a fine narrative of sorts, admirably controlled. The Small Book is more ambitious in its forms and points to a more restive phase in the author's work. The Five Easy Pieces are a round-up of some shorter texts, which fill out the picture. All of these short collections are contained in the Collected.

John Montague: Collected Poems (Wake Forest UP, Winston-Salem, N.C., & Gallery Press, Ireland, 1995. H/c & pb, 376pp).

A fine retrospective that kicks off with three powerful long sequences, The Rough Field, The Great Cloak and The Dead Kingdom. The later works show no diminution in quality, though they are slightly less intense and somewhat less marked by modernist influences. Montague's work used to be published by OUP in Britain but is now unavailable, although the Gallery Press editions are obtainable through, and thus presumably have some form of official distribution in the UK. Montague's subsequent collection, after the Collected, was Smashing the Piano, (Gallery Press & Wake Forest UP, 2001) was a great disappointment, and best avoided. Further collections have since appeared, as has a revised and expanded Collected. Penguin has a good Selected Poems, the only Montague book which is easily available in the UK.

Stuart Montgomery: Circe (Fulcrum Press, London, 1969, out of print); Islands (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 2005; 87pp, pb, £9.50)

This rewriting in modernist mode of a part of The Odyssey has always been a favourite of mine, although I've heard it described elsewhere as 'precious'. Montgomery was Fulcrum's publisher, and subsequently published a small collection called Shabby Sunshine, one of the last volumes the press put out before its collapse. The last I heard of him as a writer was another Homeric fragment (this time concerning Calypso) in a Poetry Book Society Annual anthology that he edited in the mid-70s. The Fulcrum Circe continues to crop up through second-hand book dealers. Etruscan Books of Buckfastleigh has republished the complete text along with a revised version of Calypso, and a newly-completed 'classical' poem, Sirens. It's an attractive book and the poems are well worth having. Circe remains the best of them, however.

Wendy Mulford: and suddenly, supposingSelected Poems (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 2002. 190pp, h/c, £25, pb £9.50).

This is one of the books of the year 2002, and is as welcome as it is unexpected. Wendy Mulford is a familiar figure on the UK small press scene, both as a poet and as the founder-editor of Street Editions. I'd seen some chapbooks by her, but had managed to miss out on some significant later work. In any event, the missing items are all here, and splendidly printed too. The work? Feminist, postmodern lyric, sort of. Classifications don't work though, in this case. The book covers a good 35 years of work, ranging from run-of-the-mill work from a young 1960s poet finding her voice to ambitious, syncretist works from the 80s and 90s such as Nevrazumitelny and the East Anglia Sequence, and the prose fragment La Pitié-Salpetrière. There's not an overriding consistency to the work; the style wanders to meet the content – lyrics tend to be short-lined and limpid, the ambitious works long-lined and thrusting, sometimes combining prose and imported narratives with the poetry. A startling volume that rewrites a lot of recent UK poetic history.

Alice Oswald: Dart (Faber, London, 2002. 46pp, pb £8.99); Woods etc (Faber, 2005, pb, £8.99); The Thing in the Gap Stone Stile (Faber, 2007, pb, £8.99)

Dart was one of my favourite books in 2002, and it proved that Alice Oswald's was a voice to be reckoned with. A long poem of place, concerning itself with the River Dart in Devon, it used a number of techniques that were foreign to British mainstream writing: collage, reported voices, excerpts from journals and newspapers, contemporary free-verse and local dialect. In short, a wonderful book that I still re-read. Woods etc appeared in 2005, and is very different, although it was mostly written alongside Dart. Ballads and lyrics, superbly crafted, but not as groundbreaking as her previous volume, although the level of skill and craft is on display everywhere in the book. In mid 2007, Faber rescued the author's first book, previously an OUP volume but long out of print. This is not just for completists, and is a fine collection in its own right. Quite frankly, I think Ms Oswald is a startlingly good poet, whom everyone should read. Those of you who—like me—tend towards the more experimental end of things, should give her a chance, because this is good writing by any standards. Ms Oswald also published a fine and very original anthology for Faber, The Thunder Mutters. 101 Poems for the Planet, which is a useful guide to where she's coming from, and I'm hoping it's another sign of a major original voice—and who'd have thought it at Faber, where nothing original has happened for so long? US readers can get a New & Selected Poems by Alice Oswald from Graywolf.

Frances Presley: Paravane. New & Selected Poems (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, 2004. 128pp, pb, £8.99; isbn 1-844710-42-4); Myne. New & Selected Poems and Prose 1976-2005 (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2006; 200pp, pb, £11.95 / $20); Lines of sight (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2009; 116pp, £9.95/$17).

Paravane was a most welcome volume when it appeared as it made a number of texts available that had been hard to find, and introduced us to the excellent recent Paravane poems which show that Ms Presley had entered a rich vein of form—one that she has since continued with the Myne poems, which feature in her latest collection, this time from Shearsman. Frances Presley's work might be described as feminist-experimental, if one were looking for easy handles, but catch-all descriptions disguise the realities: this is important work, often written using field composition and asyntactic procedures, but which communicates easily. Questing, exploratory, and well worth your time. Myne includes two major uncollected sequences, plus all of Somerset Letters and Linocut and selections from the earlier books Hula-Hoop and The Sex of Art. Acquiring both volumes, plus the more recent Lines of sight, would give you—more or less—a Collected Poems. A new colllection is due from Shearsman in 2014.

F. T. Prince: Collected Poems (Carcanet, Manchester, 1993, Isbn 1 85754 030 1, H/c £25); Later On; Walks in Rome (both Anvil Press Poetry, London, 1983, 1987 respectively, £5.95 each).

These seem still to be available, and are worth hunting down, especially for the longer poems, which are some of the best of their period. Try Drypoints of the Hasidim from the Collected, to start with. The Anvil volumes are very handsome, in common with most Anvil editions; the Carcanet Collected replaces an earlier Anvil edition, which I have (pictured right above). I assume, given the respective dates, that the two Anvil volumes listed above are actually also collected in the Carcanet book. Fulcrum's beautiful edition of Memoirs in Oxford is long out of print, but the text does appear in the Collected. The Carcanet book can be ordered from their website. Prince died in 2003, and was the subject of an interesting tribute in PN Review 147.

J H Prynne: Poems (2nd, expanded edition, Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2005. 592pp, £30 h/c, £15 pb).

A huge and weighty tome (in more ways than one). I've had my problems with Prynne's work over the years but came to terms with his output up to about 1985. The later oeuvre, with the exception of 1989's Word Order, causes me varying degrees of indigestion or bewilderment. Despite this seemingly half-hearted endorsement, I have to say that this is a book that you need to try to come to terms with. The poetry is genuinely original, pushing out the boundaries of the sayable. For those who find this all a bit too difficult to deal with, there is a useful study of Prynne by N H Reeve & Richard Kerridge: Nearly Too Much. The Poetry of J H Prynne (Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 1995), which will provide some pointers in a not altogether indigestible academic style.

Those who already have the earlier Bloodaxe edition of Poems can get most of the previously uncollected material from the 2nd edition in Furtherance—cover shown above right (The Figures, Great Barrington, MA, 2004; 107pp, pb, $14). There are a number of subsequent texts, all in chapbook form and in limited editions, available with varying degress of difficulty.

Tom RaworthWindmills in Flames (Carcanet, Manchester. 92pp, pb, £9.95. ISBN 978 1 847770 82 0); Collected Poems (Carcanet, Manchester. 650pp, pb, £29. ISBN 978 1 857546 24 8); Eternal Sections (Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles, 62pp, pb, $9.95); Tottering State: Selected Poems 1963-1987 (Paladin, London, out of print; 2nd US edition, O Books, 2000. 231pp, $15); Clean & Well Lit. Selected Poems 1987-1995 (Roof Books, New York, 1996. 106pp, pb, $10.95).

Tottering State and Clean & Well Lit were invaluable interim selected editions that enabled us to get an idea of the sheer scope of Raworth's work but, given his almost 40 years of activity, they actually only scratched the surface of this fascinating oeuvre. His full range only became clear to a greater literary public in 2003, when Carcanet made the vast Collected Poems available. This heavy book (almost 2 kilos in weight) includes just about all of Raworth's poetry to date, the only missing collection being a very obscure American chapbook from the early 1970s, excluded because not even the author had a copy. Some prose works and some unclassifiable books have been excluded too, but it's worth noting that the prose sections of the otherwise unclassifiable Logbook are here. There are several uncollected poems included, although not too many, as this author has never lacked outlets for his work, even if they were sometimes rather fugitive editions, archetypal small press creations on both sides of the Atlantic. Given that a large proportion of Raworth's previously published work is out of print, this is a particularly valuable enterprise. Explorers of Raworth's work should also seek out the remarkable experimental prose work A Serial Biography (the long out-of-print Fulcrum Press edition is pictured here; a US edition appeared in the 1970s from Turtle Island; it was again reissued by Salt Publishing in the prose compilation, Earn Your Milk, in 2009), and the delightful early books whose use of space and illustrative material cannot be wholly replicated by the Collected: The Relation Ship (Goliard Press, 1966), A Big Green Day (Trigram, 1968; pictured above, centre), Lion Lion (Trigram, 1970), Moving (Cape Goliard, 1971) and Act (Trigram, 1973).

Peter Redgrove (1932-2003): Collected Poems (Cape, London, 2012. 538pp, pb, £25); Selected Poems (Cape, 1999. 136pp, pb, £8); Sheen (Stride, Exeter, 2003. 163pp, pb, 170mm x 145mm, £10. ISBN 1-900152-87-8); A Speaker for the Silver Goddess (Stride, 2006. 110pp, pb, £8.50. isbn1-905024-16-9)

The Selected is a good survey of a poetic life which has been enormously productive and under-valued. Redgrove's turn of phrase can be magical, baroque even, and he stands outside the horribly restrained national aesthetic. A real craftsman, and a very under-rated one at that. Peter Redgrove died in 2003; nine years on, a Collected Poems appeared from Cape; while one should have it on the shelves, the page-count makes it clear that this is really only a fat Selected. I fear that the full scope of Redgrove's work will never get a proper overview, now that this monument has been released. At the same time, a biography of the poet, by Neil Roberts, also appeared.

Denise RileySelected Poems (Reality Street Editions, London, 2000. 112pp, pb. £7.50).

An essential book, showcasing the work of one of the best living British poets—only one other volume is currently in print, Mop Mop Georgette, from the same publisher, which has many poems in common with the Selected. There was a shorter selection from Penguin in one of their Modern Poets three-handers in 1996—some 35 pages in the company of Iain Sinclair and the late Douglas Oliver—but this edition is to be preferred. Printed in a square format which, while odd, allows the poems to breathe nicely.

John Riley (1937-1978): The Collected Works (Grosseteste Press, Leeds & Wirksworth, 1980. H/c & pb, 515pp. Out of print.)

A fine monument to a poet who was killed at the age of 41, and who was co-editor of the seminal Grosseteste Review. Copies do turn up in the second-hand trade, and the hardback is beautifully produced. Otherwise a paperback Selected Poems is still available from Carcanet.

Peter Riley: The Derbyshire Poems (Shearsman Books, 2010, £12.95/$20); Greek Passages (Shearsman Books, 2009, £9.95/$17); The Llyn Writings (Shearsman Books, 2007. 124pp, Pb, £8.95/$15); The Day's Final Balance: Uncollected Writings 1965-2006 (Shearsman Books, 2007. Pb, 212pp, £11.95/$20); A Map of Faring (Parlor Press, West Lafayette, IN., 2005. 108pp, $12 pbk, $24 h/c); Excavations (Reality Street Editions, Hastings, 2004. 216pp, pb, 8ins x 4.75ins, £9); Alstonefield (Carcanet, Manchester, 2003. 144pp, £9.95); The Dance at Mociu (Shearsman Books, 2003. 119pp, pb, £8.95 / $13.95 [Prose]); Passing Measures (Carcanet, Manchester, 2000. 124pp, £9.95).

The titling is coy but Passing Measures is in fact a Selected Poems, albeit a Selected that leaves out the author's remarkable experimental texts such as Excavations which appeared from Reality Street in late 2004. Excavations is a collection of prose poems based on 19th century excavation reports of prehistoric burial mounds. That might sound unpromising at first, but the mixture of found texts and the author's meditative prose makes for a magical and absorbing book. Passing Measures is very fine collection indeed, which deserves to secure for Riley a much wider readership. (See the catalogue for details of further Riley collections from Shearsman Books.) At the end of 2003 Carcanet published the excellent long poem Alstonefield, which collects Books 1-5 of the long poem, the first 4 books of which were a Shearsman publication in the 1990s; Shearsman Books also published his prose collection The Dance at Mociu in October 2003. For background, see Nate Dorward (ed): The Poetry of Peter Riley (The Gig 4/5, Willowdale, Ont., Canada), a very valuable collection of essays and interviews. Of the out-of-print earlier books, you should look out especially for Lines on the Liver (Ferry Press, see cover above) and Tracks and Mineshafts (Grosseteste Review Books; both of these have now been collected in the Shearsman volume, The Derbyshire Poems, together with some other related works). The most recent publication is the excellent Carcanet edition of The Glacial Stairway (2011).

Maurice Scully: Livelihood (Wild Honey Press, Bay, Co. Wicklow, 2004. 336pp, pb, £15 / $20 / €20); 5 freedoms of movement (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 2001 (revision of the 1987 edition) 95pp, pb, £7.70 / $13.95); Sonata (Reality Street Editions, 2006, Pb, 106pp, £8.50); Tig (Shearsman Books, 2006; Pb 100pp, £8.95/$15); Humming (Shearsman Books, 2009; Pb, 97pp, £8.95/$15).

Scully tends to work in very long forms, even if the texts can be extracted and enjoyed without some of the connections. Livelihood—a long-awaited volume—typifies his approach: a long complex text, themes interwoven and threaded through several levels. It is said to be the middle volume of a trilogy, so the whole picture is still unclear. Scully is something of an original, though there is a clear postmodern element to his work, with all manner of material being grist to his mill. What's it about? Life, the universe and everything, as Mr Adams once said. The whole edifice of his work is now clearer with the publication of Sonata and Tig, which mark the penultimate and the final volumes of the whole work (in which 5 Freedoms is the prelude). Daunting, but well worth getting to grips with. Humming starts a new trajectory, a new phase in his work.

Michael ShayerPoems from an Island (Fulcrum Press, London, 1970, out of print).

Very much of its time, Shayer's book—showing much influence from American poetry of the 1960s—remains one that I come back to for its clarity of purpose and its honesty. A poem of place indeed, and a fascinating one. Shayer was involved with Migrant in the early 60s and seems to have published little else, having given up writing in the 1970s (?). As with other Fulcrum volumes, this one does turn up in antiquarian bookstores.

Penelope Shuttle: A Leaf Out of his Book (Carcanet, Manchester, 1999. 158pp, pb, £7.95); Redgrove's Wife (Bloodaxe Books, 2006. Pb 96pp, £8.95).

A Leaf is very impressive large collection from a poet who seems to be opening up in her later work. Much her best volume to date. There is also a slim Selected Poems from the old OUP list (107pp, pb, £7.95), distributed now by Carcanet, which is useful background, but it is in this book that she seems most assured. The collection from Bloodaxe is a fine book, very poignant in places, but full of fresh and vital poetry.

Colin Simms: A Celebration of the Stones in a Water-Course (Galloping Dog Press, 1981); Eyes Own Ideas (Pig Press, Durham, 1987); Goshawk Lives (Form Books, London, 1995); Poems to Basil Bunting (2nd, expanded edition, Writers Forum, London, 2001. 25.5 x 18.5 cms. 44pp, centre-stapled, £3.50?); Otters and Martens (Shearsman Books, 2004. 163pp, pb, £9.95 / $15.95); The American Poems (Shearsman Books, 2005. 208pp, pb, £10.95 / $18); Gyrfalcon Poems (Shearsman Books, 2007. 100pp, pb, £8.95 / $15); Poems from Afghanistan (Shearsman Books, 2013; Pb, 122pp, £9.95).

Simms has published a huge number of books, pamphlets, chapbooks over the past thirty years, 99% of which are out of print (& unobtainable), and these three stand as representative samples containing enough work for a reader to get an idea of what he's about. The Goshawk volume is valuable in that it brings together a large number of poems about hawks from right across the poet's career. Simms is a naturalist—not an effete observer of his garden from the desk – and the power of observation strained through a colander of a strong verse line that owes something to Bunting's example is an object lesson in how to do it. There is a new strain of 'modern pastoral' in the UK, but Simms—perhaps with Helen Macdonald, another naturalist—is the real thing. Shearsman Books published a large collection of Simms' poems called Otters and Martens in June 2004, and followed this with The American Poems in September 2005, a volume that concentrates on Simms' long poems on Amerindian themes (including the remarkable Celebration poem also listed here), but also includes over 50 shorter poems on related themes. The third Shearsman collection of his work, Gyrfalcon Poems, devoted to the birds of the title, appears in May 2007. There were rumours of a Selected Poems from Salt, plus a Companion volume of essays devoted to his work, but these came to nothing. The Bunting chapbook from Writers Forum is well worth getting, if you can lay your hands on copies; it is an expanded edition of an earlier collection under the same title from the mid-1990s.

Iain Sinclair: Lud Heat (Albion Village Press, London, 1975, 111pp, out of print); Lud Heat and Suicide Bridge (Granta, London, 2002, 300pp, £6.99); flesh eggs and scalp metal: Selected Poems 1973-1987 (Paladin, London, 1989, 159pp, out of print); Saddling the Rabbit (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 2002; 60pp, pb, £7.50, $14.95).

Sinclair is best known today as a prose-writer of some style, with a fascination for the obscurer corners of London. Before writing those remarkable novels and meta-fictions, he wrote the spectacular Lud Heat, which is at least half in prose, and was the obvious inspiration for Peter Ackroyd's novel, Hawksmoor. (Ackroyd returns the favour with a cover blurb for the Granta edition.) Sinclair's prose appears to be all in print, after a new deal with Granta Books, which I think is now a Penguin offshoot. The Paladin Selected Poems is worth searching for, despite having suffered the same demise as the rest of that publisher's poetry list, because most of the contents only appeared in the kind of editions that disappear just after publication. Etruscan Books published his latest collection in November 2002. This enjoyable book exhibits no great change in the poet's work, but it's fair to say that he now concentrates on an innovative kind of prose rather than verse.

Geoffrey Squires:Untitled and other poems, 1975-2002 (Wild Honey Press, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 2004. 212pp, pb, £10 / $16 / €16). Landscape & Silences (New Writers' Press, Dublin, 1996. 60pp, pb, €7.50).

L&S is a fascinating transitional sequence linking Squires' earlier work (such as the excellent XXI Poems, Menard Press, London, 1980) with his current more meditative work which tends to more abstract modes of expression. Squires deserves to be better known. His new 'untitled' Selected is a gem of a volume displaying a fascinating development in the author's work. It will be fascinating to follow this trajectory as it curves ever more surely towards the unsayable. Recent e-books of his long poems Lines and So can be found here on the Shearsman site.

Harriet TarloPoems 1990-2003 (Shearsman Books, Bray, Exeter, 2004. 144pp, pb, £9.95 / $16). nab (Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 2006. 96pp, pb, £8.50).

Harriet Tarlo is one of the finest of what might be described as the innovative-pastoral poets. These two books give you more or less all of her work to date, the Shearsman volume concentrating on the shorter poems and sequences, while the Etruscan book gives you the three long poems, including the splendid 'Brancepeth Beck'. Excellent work, well worth getting to know for those who think that pastoral poetry is all sub-Wordsworthian daffodils.

Charles Tomlinson: Selected Poems 1955–1997 (Oxford UP, Oxford; New Directions, New York, 1999. 226pp, pb, £9.95, $13.95).

This large selection is a good way of getting an idea of Tomlinson's poetic career. The New Directions edition is preferable as an object to the OUP edition, which appeared not long before the demise of the Oxford poetry list, when design and production values (& presumably budget) for that list had almost vanished. The earlier Collected Poems (1987, covering ten separate collections—pictured above is the 1984 hardcover edition) would be the next place to go, if copies are still in the vaults (OUP's poetry publications are now controlled by Carcanet, following the demise of the Oxford list). The Vineyard Above the Sea is a more recent book, and is a good collection, if not earth-shatteringly so. Tomlinson settled into a comfortable groove quite some time ago and has seen no reason to leave it. He is very good at what he does, and is still undervalued in the UK, notwithstanding the respect he has gained in some quarters.

Gael Turnbull (1928–2004)More Words: Gael Turnbull on Poets and Poetry (ed. Jill Turnbull & Hamish Whyte, Shearsman Books, 2012, pb, 204pp, £12.95 / $20); There are words: Collected Poems (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2006. 496pp, pb, £18.95 / $30); A Gathering of Poems 1950-1980 (Anvil Press Poetry, London, 1983, out of print)

I wish the Anvil volume (middle image above) had been kept in print. It was beautifully printed and bound and was never replaced. If you scan the antiquarian lists, you will also find the superb earlier volumes that are included in this book: A Trampoline and Scantlings (both from Cape Goliard)—superb achievements in terms of book design. The pick of Turnbull's subsequent volumes is For Whose Delight (Mariscat Press, Glasgow, 1995), which includes the fine long sequence Impellings. Pictured on the right above is the Canadian Selected Poems from Porcupine's Quill, unavailable outside Canada as far as I can make out. With the author's recent passing, the need was yet more urgent for a thorough survey of the author's work, the sheer range of which is hard to grasp. For this reason Shearsman Books published Turnbull's Collected Poems in May 2006, in association with Mariscat Press. This enormous volume (shown left above) includes all of Turnbull's published books with the exception of one volume which he later rejected, and a couple of collections of occasional pieces which seem not to belong in this company. Added to the mix are a large number of uncollected poems and an incomplete manuscript of a longer poem which was found in the author's papers after his death. In 2012, Shearsman issed a compilation of the author's various prose writings.

Catherine Walsh: Idir Eatortha and Making Tents (Invisible Books, London, 1996. A4 format, 85pp, £5.50; €7.00 in Ireland); City West (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2005; 84pp, pb, £8.95 / $14)

As with her compatriots Scully and Squires, Walsh tends to work in extended forms but in a style completely removed from the other current Irish writers. Her formal antecedents seem to me to be the late works of poets associated with Black Mountain. Olson's in there, along with some Duncan, maybe even Niedecker, but the influences have been subsumed within a very original approach.

Shearsman Books published another long poem, Optic Verve in 2009.

John Welch: Collected Poems (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2008. 452pp, pb, £16.95/$29); Visiting Exile (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2009. 84pp, pb, £8.95/$15); Its Halting Measure (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2012. 80pp, pb, £8.95/$15).

John Welch has pursued a somewhat lonely groove for many years, while also editing the magazine Vanessa, and the excellent Many Press. I feel that his work has been rather overlooked, falling between stools as it may well do: his own tastes run to the more innovative end of the poetic spectrum, but his own late-modernist take on poetry—in some ways not unlike Roy Fisher's—can fall afoul of both mainstream taste and the avant-garde. Shearsman published the author's Collected Poems in 2008, as well as a prose memoir, Dreaming Arrival, and has followed up with 2 subsequent poetry collections, all of which are worth your attention.

Peter Whigham (1925–199?): Things Common, Properly. Selected Poems 1942-1982. (Anvil Press Poetry, London, 1984. 214pp, H/c £12.95; pb £8.95.)

The late Peter Whigham was so under-rated, it was unbelievable, but that was the fate of many who flew too close to the Poundian flame. His Sappho translations are here as well as other poems from Greek, the beautiful Ingathering of Love and the Love Poems of the VIth Dalai Lama, as well as a substantial selection of earlier and later work. A generous selection and it's still in print, according to my Anvil catalogue.