Robert Sheppard - When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry


Robert Sheppard - When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry

Paperback, 218pp, 9x6ins 
Download a PDF sampler from this book here.

This study presents an episodic history of an epic period in British poetry, when bad times forced political subversion and textual impaction upon its central figures and provisional institutions. In the episodes which cover the Poetry Wars of the 1970s; the centrality of Bob Cobbing as poetry activist and the SubVoicive poetry scene in 1980s London; and the cultural poetics of Iain Sinclair in the 1990s and since; the focus is upon poetic community rather than individuals. Robert Sheppard makes use of his status as nuanced eye-witness. At times he is personal — he retrieves a polemical lecture from the 1990s and an opinion piece from 2007 — but his close listening to, and reading of, poets is scrupulous, detailed and illuminating when he reads bodies of work by Allen Fisher, Tom Raworth and Iain Sinclair.  His long-standing interest in poetics as a writerly speculative discourse, and in its hybrid or mercurial forms, is explored in pieces on the works of John Hall, Ken Edwards, and Maggie O'Sullivan.


"A landmark study." —Benjamin Keatinge reviewing The Poetry of Saying in The European English Messenger

"Written by a prominent practitioner and critic of linguistically innovative poetry, it is all at once one of the most wide-ranging, detailed, theoretically-astute and eloquent monographs in its field." —Mandy Bloomfield reviewing The Poetry of Saying in The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.

Read an interview with Robert Sheppard by Rupert Loydell, arising from the subjects discussed in this volume, here.

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