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The Complete Poems (Oxford Poets) Paperback – 22 Sep 1994

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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (22 Sept. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192822829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192822826
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,044,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"There is verse which is directly melodic, which seems to sing rather than speak. Basil Bunting is a master of this...." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

About the Author: Richard Caddel is Director of the Basil Bunting Poetry Center, Durham University, and is the author and editor of many works including Basil Bunting: Uncollected Poems (Oxford, 1991).

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First Sentence
He whom we anatomized 'whose words we gathered as pleasant flowers and thought on his wit and how neatly he described things' speaks to us, hatching marrow, broody all night over the bones of a deadman.  Read the first page
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John David Charles Hilton on 30 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, first things first, this is one book that does not do what it says on the tin. This isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a 'complete' volume. At most it's a collected. Bunting was a notoriously harsh critic of his own work. Whilst this volume is significantly larger than the 'complete' that Bunting edited, it is still only 244 pages.

So, having got that out of the way, why five stars?

Because BB was one of the most interesting, rewarding, funny, poignant, cutting, accessible and all round enjoyable poets to emerge from the ferment of the 1930s.

Yes, of course Briggflatts is here, and it is magnificent. But there is a lot else which lies in its shadow. Try "What the Chairman Told Tom" which is just very, very funny, or the beauty of "I Am Agog for Foam".

There is so much to savour in this volume.

But that still doesn't make it complete.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph White on 6 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Always compose aloud: poetry is a sound"
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alistair Watson on 11 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fine
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Basil Bunting - A Neglected Voice 4 Dec. 2002
By Julian Meek-Davies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is often said prophets are never appreciated in their own land, and in the case of Basil Bunting this adage seems particularly apt. Praised by Ezra Pound, whose disciple he was, and feted by the likes of luminaries William Butler Yeats and TS Eliot, his work remained virtually unknown to the outside world until 1966, when the (North of England based) Fulcrum Press brought out Briggflatts, an epic poem drawing on elements of inner autobiography and Northumbrian folklore. Then his career kicked off in earnest, with the result that we are now able to see Bunting for what he is; a great Modernist poet whose work will undoubtedly last.
This edition brings together the majority of Bunting's work he and his executors saw fit to preserve and is definitive. In it you can treat yourself to the First Book of Odes with its brief verses originally published in various magazines and pamphlets that published the work of poets prepared to make poetry count after the foggy Neo-Romanticism of the Georgians had all but rendered it irrelevant. Alongside is the Second Book of Odes, mainly assembled in 1965 after Bunting, neglected and working on a newspaper in Newcastle England had been rediscovered by counterculture poet Tom Pickard. These poems are brief and lyrical, reinforcing Bunting's belief that "poetry is to be heard", and are sometimes hard to get into. However, they repay a certain amount of rereading and rapidly become memorable. The same can be said for the "Overdrafts" - free verse versions of poets as diverse as Horace, Virgil, Firdosi and Rudaki. Bunting spoke Persian fluently (he worked in Iran for part of his life) and his translations are highly accessible.
The highpoint of the book, however, must be "Briggflatts". "Brag, sweet tenor bull/Descant on Rawthey's madrigal". It is described by the poet as "an autobiography", but it communicates on a far deeper level than simply that. Items of myth, music and art are fused ably together, and the effect is of an English Modernist masterpiece rivalling Eliot's "The Waste Land" and Hart Crane's "The Bridge". The poem experiments with sonata form, as do "Villon" and "The Spoils" among others.
Bunting was Pound's follower, but he avoided his political excesses and linguistic boasting. He also perhaps managed a higher level of originality, for whilst like Pound and Eliot he was happy to draw on sources, Bunting seems to have weaved his heritage into his work in a way in which the joins are less obvious. His concern was primarily with music, and he had, whilst making it new, to make connections with sound in the manner of the Troubadours or wandering minstrels. His work deserves every new reader it gets.
Enjoy
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
England's Greatest Objectivist Finally Gets His Due 4 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who loves Louis Zukofsky and George Oppen must make the acquaintance of their great British contemporary and counterpart, Basil Bunting. I'll let this great poet describe himself: "STRENGTH / inked with a light brush." By "light," he does not mean feathery or easy off the tongue or on the eye; he means letting words have a say in what is being said and, in Bunting's case, more often sung. That takes an ear for speech as great as any. As Bunting urges, "listen as crags / listen to light." Otherwise (which is to say dumb) "the soil refuses the lightning" as the vellum on which ink flows rips beneath pen's ponderous weight. In short, 200+ pages of unerring music from a man worthy of being called a poet.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
a strong song 7 Jan. 2015
By Freeman Ng - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is really a review of Bunting's long poem "Briggflatts" disguised as a review of this book in which it can be found. Bunting was a great poet whose poems are all worth reading, but "Briggflatts" was his masterpiece. It's like Eliot's "Wasteland" if Eliot had not been a snob, or like his "Four Quartets" without the religion. It's like Pound's Cantos if Pound hadn't been a little nuts. (Note: I love all those other poets and poems, too. I just like “Briggflatts” best.)

You can read more about "Briggflatts" in this longer introduction to the poem: http://www.freemanng.net/blog/2015/01/06/review-a-strong-song-basil-bunting-briggflatts/
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