5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A lavish package which does this masterpiece full justice.,
This review is from: Briggflatts (with DVD & CD) (Book DVD & CD) (Paperback)
I can't praise this set highly enough. It consists of a critical edition of Briggflatts, a CD of Bunting reading the poem and a DVD of an early 80's Channel 4 documentary about the poet (which itself is a revealing and sterling piece of work).
To start with the poem, Briggflatts has always been critically lauded. It's the 'autobiography in verse' of a great english poet, I love it and I wish it were far better known. As with other modern works like "The Waste Land", I'll never claim I understand every line of it, but the poem is shot through with such beautiful lines and imagery that you don't have to know exactly what's being said in every line. Added to this is the fact that Bunting all his life made the claim that poetry is like music, and as such is written in order to be read. In this context, Briggflatts takes on a life of its own and even if you read it aloud yourself you find it working its magic on you. It IS great music as well as great verse.
This brings us on to the other highlights of this package. The book itself consists not only of the poems, but also numerous critical writings which, if they don't try and fully explain the poem's meanings, go a long way to putting it into context for you. The real highlight, however, is the brief biography of Bunting (illustrated by many photos). This isn't just a potted version of his life story, but also a mini guide to the poem itself, in the sense that it highlights the key experiences of his life which inspired and informed a lot of Briggflatts.
To cap it all, we get the CD of Bunting reading the poem aloud. Bunting was an exceptional reader of verse, and by the time he made this recording he possessed a rich, resonant voice. In my opinion his claim that poems should be read aloud is beautifully vindicated by this recording. Play the CD and you'll find your understanding of Briggflatts- which though unquestionably beautiful CAN be quite hard to apprehend in places- is aided and enhanced.
The more I read him, the more I think Bunting is one of the true greats, and this package goes some way to proving the point.