Charles Tomlinson

Charles Tomlinson Selected Poems 1951-1974 was published last year. An Arts Council exhibition of his poems and graphics can be seen at Brunel University from 19 November.

Poem: ‘At the Edge’

Charles Tomlinson, 1 May 1980

The offscape, the in-folds, secreted    Water-holes in the boles of trees, Abandoned bits, this door of water    On the wood’s floor (knock with the breath And enter a world reverted, a catacomb    Of branching ways where the roots splay): Edges are centres: once you have found    Their lines of force, the least of gossamers...

Poem: ‘Their voices rang’

Charles Tomlinson, 20 December 1979

Their voices rang through the winter trees: they were speaking and yet it seemed they sang, the trunks a hall of victory.

And what is that and where? Though we come to it rarely, the sense of all that we might be conjures the place from air.

Is it the mind, then? It is the mind received, assumed into a season forestial in the absence of all leaves.

Their voices rang through the winter trees...

In a recent radio programme, Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell, two of the most prominent of the New Generation poets, retraced the journey undertaken by Auden and MacNeice in Letters From Iceland...

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Davie’s Rap

Neil Corcoran, 25 January 1990

One of the finest things in Donald Davie’s Under Briggflatts is a sustained, learned and densely implicative comparison of two poems about horses: Edwin Muir’s well-known,...

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Received Accents

Peter Robinson, 20 February 1986

Charles Tomlinson has a poem called ‘Class’ about the Midland pronunciation of the first letter of the alphabet. In the last chapter of Some Americans, the poet tells how for a short...

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Other Poems and Other Poets

Donald Davie, 20 September 1984

Landor wrote: ‘Many, although they believe they discover in a contemporary the qualities which elevate him above the rest, yet hesitate to acknowledge it; part, because they are fearful of...

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The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Perhaps all verse translation must begin and end with a version of the Aeneid, or with an essentially Virgilian concept of art’s relation to society? In these islands, the first translator...

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Claude Rawson, 17 June 1982

The title poem of St Kilda’s Parliament is about a local institution ‘quite unlike Westminster’, a gathering ‘by interested parties to discuss the day’s work and any...

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Christopher Reid, 3 September 1981

‘It is strange,’ Charles Tomlinson writes, ‘to have met the innovators of one’s time only when age had overtaken them.’ The innovators to whom he refers are those...

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A Match for Macchu Picchu

Christopher Reid, 4 June 1981

John Felstiner’s Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu is an unusual, honest and enterprising book, but ultimately something of a disappointment. Its title suggests a...

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Christopher Reid, 15 May 1980

The Parisian Surrealists appear to have taken their games-playing very seriously. Ritual imitations of the creative act – involving the practice of automatic writing, a deep faith in the...

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