Briggflatts (with DVD & CD) (Book DVD & CD) Paperback – 10 Jun 2009
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BRIGGFLATTS is one of the few great poems of this century. It seems to me greater each time I read it. --Thom Gunn
His poems are the most important which have appeared in any form of the English language since T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. --Hugh MacDiarmid
About the Author
Basil Bunting is one of the most important British poets of the 20th century. Acknowledged since the 1930s as a major figure in Modernist poetry, first by Pound and Zukofsky and later by younger writers, the Northumbrian master poet had to wait over 30 years before his genius was finally recognised in Britain - in 1966, with the publication of BRIGGFLATTS, which Cyril Connolly called 'the finest long poem to have been published in England since T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets'. Born in Northumberland in 1900, Bunting lived in Paris in the 20s, where Ezra Pound rescued him from jail and fixed him up with a job on the Transatlantic Review. He later followed Pound to Italy - giving up his job to Hemingway - where Yeats knew him as 'one of Pound's more savage disciples'. For the next 30 years he led a sometimes wild and always varied life - in Italy, England, Berlin, Tenerife, America and Persia - as a struggling, penniless writer, a music critic, sea captain, RAF officer, Times correspondent and Chief of Political Intelligence in Tehran. During these years he built up a reputation in America as the best English poet of his generation, at the same time as his poetry was neglected in Britain. In 1954 he returned to Northumberland, and worked for several years as a sub-editor on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. It was not until the publication of BRIGGFLATTS that his genius was finally recognised. He died in 1985. COMPLETE POEMS (2000) was reissued by Bloodaxe for Bunting's centenary and includes his original Collected Poems alongside the posthumous Uncollected Poems. It also contains a new introduction by Richard Caddel. A companion double-cassette recording of his own reading of his poems, BASIL BUNTING READS BRIGGFLATTS & OTHER POEMS, was also published by Bloodaxe at the same time. A new Bloodaxe edition of BRIGGFLATTS (June 2009) includes a CD with an audio recording Bunting made of Briggflatts in 1967 and a DVD of Peter Bell's 1982 film portrait of Bunting.
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Top Customer Reviews
The long poem Briggflats which is the main text in the book is a long meditation on a persons life, sense of place and is partly autobiographical. Bunting had a very rich life: wandering the world working in the diplomatic service, and poet who knew amongst others Ezra Pound and Louis Zufosky. There also are enlightening essays on and by Bunting explaining his ideas about poetry, all which help understand the text.
Most enlightening is his view that poetry is to be heard like music. This is especially apt as the CD of Bunting reading the poem adds whole new dimensions to the text. It some how becomes become so much clearer when heard. Indeed, I found I could surrender to Bunting's voice and words and, like music, let them just sweep over me. Except there's more: the DVD where one meets the poet himself in the latter days of his life.
This package is an ideal introduction to this poet. I will be going back to some of his other poems.
It's worth buying this new edition for the pleasure (and instructiveness) of hearing Bunting himself reading in his strong colourful voice what he terms his "biography".
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.Read more ›
Contains interesting photographs, and the CD and DVD are a welcome bonus. All this, at a very good price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a wonderful recommendation from a friend. A gem in British poetry. The accompanying notes and essay are superb and the dvd is excellent.Published 12 months ago by AJRC
A book containing not only the poem Briggflatts but a few extras too, all interesting, and a CD of Bunting reading his poem and a DVD about him! It's all terrific.Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was on our reading list and the poetry tutor told us if we didn't like or understand it then read it again and again (I guess he meant until we did grow to like /... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2012 by MFM