A fascinating book - and certainly one of the best biographies I've read. Extravagantly well written and researched, I think it makes an important claim to literary history: Dominic Hibberd shows that Monro deserves to be much better remembered - no one did more for the advancement of early 20th-century English poetry.
Though his subject has a decidedly dour streak, Hibberd manages to maintain a lightness of touch which will sometimes have you laughing out loud - I won't cherry-pick examples, but they're there to be truffled out. Monro was clearly a man 'of friends possess'd' and what an extraordinary lot they were - nearly every poet of the period appears in this book, mostly with intriguing stories and insights attached: TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, TE Hulme, Richard Aldington, Rupert Brooke, Wilfrid Gibson, Edward Thomas, the Sitwells and many more.
Two completely new stories about Eliot are particularly striking: he clearly borrowed material for The Waste Land from Monro (which I haven't seen recorded anywhere else); and he came close to a romance with Monro's widow, Alida Klementaski. But the best new story of all is of Monro's early, desperately earnest quest for Utopia, following the lead given by HG Wells.
This search brought Monro some personal liberation - an idyllic summer living in an abandoned mill near Ascona with a 17 year old Anglo-Italian youth - but ultimately changed the course of English poetry. It was a search that led to the foundation of two literary journals (one, Poetry Review, of course is still going today) and was to culminate in the world-renowned Poetry Bookshop, a base from which poets (of all schools and of none) could start to build the glorious world of the future.