I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. Tony Harrison is a Poet, capital P - certainly far and away the greatest living Poet in England. He has the courage to communicate his (often controversial) views and ideas through his glorious formal Verse. Some of the Poems from the 'School Of Eloquence' sequence are incredibly moving, 'V' is quite simply a masterpiece and 'A Cold Coming' demonstrates the Poet's revulsion against war and dedication to the cause of peace. There are too many published writers in the English-speaking world today who are quite content to rattle off a paragraph of descriptive prose, perhaps throw in an interesting original simile and add line-breaks every few words, and pass it off as 'contemporary poetry' - this diminishes Poetry and reduces it to a laughing stock among the arts. Given the flexibility, adaptability and vastness of the English language, and the metrical and rhyming possibilities this vastness affords the writer, there is no excuse for this. Such people have no right to call themselves 'poets', for that is a different category of writing and way beneath Poetry - Tony Harrison, however, most certainly DOES have the right to call himself a Poet! This collection is recommended for anyone who loves REAL Poetry as opposed to oxymoronically so-called 'free verse'.
I studied Harrison for my University degree and I found his poetry rather interesting. I enjoyed his use of contrasting vernaculars and how his poems delve into how his education created a class difference between his parents and his hometown of Leeds. V. is about 14 pages long in this edition but well worth a read!
I gave this 5 stars as it arrived on time, and was as described. I am doing a project on Tony Harrison, and I can already see that it will prove very useful. It makes good reading for anyone interested in progressive poetry.