- Gabriel Okara - University of Nebraska Press : Nebraska Press
- Do collected poems provide a complete account of an author?
- ‘The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry’, edited by Jonathan and Jessica Wordsworth: £16.99, Penguin
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Modern editors attempting to establish a canonical text of his poems are still struggling with the number of variants available to them — an outcome that would undoubtedly have delighted the old Irish peacock. Many poets view individual collections as organic wholes that incorporate not only the words, but design elements such as typeface, page size and graphics, and will lament the loss of these factors in a collected format.
In both cases I already knew most of the work from the original chapbooks and individual collections and my initial reaction was disappointment that the earlier formats couldn't have been reproduced. This was soon tempered by the realisation that most of these books were out of print and that the collecteds would make these wonderful poets more easily available to a new readership.
Over time, something else happened; I began to get a new sense of the total shape of their work — of themes appearing, recurring, fading out, and of the development of each poet's individual voice. This is something that can really only happen in the context of a big collected poems.
Gabriel Okara - University of Nebraska Press : Nebraska Press
And what of my own book? Well, yes I did revise some early work, and I chose to leave some things out.
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I also discovered that the books I've written seem to add up to one big book. Better still, it seems that I'm not finished yet; despite Bunting's warning, I'm still writing. The process sent me back to look at all recently published collected poems I've read, and it seems to me that we're in a bit of a golden age. I've already mentioned a number of favourites, and there are at least as many more I've left out. And probably twice as many again that I haven't read.
Do collected poems provide a complete account of an author?
I'm sure I can depend on you to let me know about these. Topics Poetry Books blog. Reuse this content. There is a scrupulously scholarly biography of him by Rachel Barrowman and a rather more simplistic one by John Caselberg. Both biographers show that Mason continued writing poetry well after Collected Poems was published.
Clearly, a selection of this largely forgotten or unknown work was long overdue. And clearly the legend of the poet who lost his gift needed some correction. But he still found much to include. Or maybe political activism had become a substitute for poetry.
‘The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry’, edited by Jonathan and Jessica Wordsworth: £16.99, Penguin
In Uncollected Poems there are indeed odd pages of poetic agitprop from the s and 50s — pieces such as Service for the Fallen , This Dark Will Lighten and China are designed for public performance before left-wing audiences. Not all readers will necessarily agree with this view. This work finds its way into Uncollected Poems and some of it reveals a surprising side to Mason. He never felt the need to put up much of a fight against his influence. The last 30 pages of Uncollected Poems are poems from the s.
But the older Mason is much more mellow and humorous than his teenage self, forgiving the world and in a way forgiving himself for his youthful angst. But with its publication, Mason will never be seen in the same light again. This article was first published in the October 26, issue of the New Zealand Listener.
How a new R.