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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

on 11 February 2014
For one of Britain's finest twentieth century poets, surprisingly little has been written about the life of Norman Nicholson. It's therefore refreshing, and perhaps overdue, to come across such a thoroughly researched and well-written biography.

Close followers of Norman Nicholson will, as a matter of course, want to read this new, insightful and candid biography. However, Norman Nicholson's life was so colourful and unusual that readers new to his work will also find this biography fascinating.

As a bonus, this biography brings to life the difficulties suffered by so many people of the era in coping with tuberculosis. It's all too easy to forget that, less than a hundred years ago, TB was still rife in this country and Norman Nicholson was one of many who had to adapt his life accordingly and uncomplainingly.
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on 8 December 2013
Opening a biography of someone you admire is a risky business. Is it going to be factual but dull? Over-fanciful? Will it contain a whole lot of stuff I don't need to know as it does not illuminate the subject? There are no worries here. This is a sensitive, generous account of Norman Nicholson's life, written by a fellow poet. I have love Nicholson's work ever since I first discovered it in anthologies; I use his image of dandelion clocks, held 'like small ballooons of light above the ground' in poetry workshops. I grow bloody cranesbill in my southern garden in tribute to him and the Cumbria he wrote about with such passion. I read 'Pot Geranium' at my father-in-law's funeral, not knowing then, as I do now,that it was written, not in his extreme old age, but when he was a young man physically constrained by the chronic illness that dogged him and shaped his life. I know now that he was in a sanatorium not far from where I live. I now know that he was friends with poet Kathleen Raine, among others. I know so much more! I have a picture of his life, thanks to this book - which is a great read, to boot. One of the best biographies I've read.
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on 14 August 2017
This is a welcome and thorough biography which told me much that I didn't know about Norman Nicholson, although I've loved his poetry ever since I read 'Halley's Comet', which is one of the few poems that immediately took me by storm. In later life and after his death he was snubbed by the poetry establishment (no surprises there), but I hadn't known that he actually made some influential friends quite early, and wrote several novels, plays and works of criticism. But it is his poems by which he will be remembered. They are 'not much of a crop', as he said, and are all in the very slim Faber Selected, but they are wonderful and I read them again and again. He grew up with no advantages except a loving family and as a very young man had TB. His life, and therefore his genius, was preserved by the hard work of his father and stepmother and later of his wife Yvonne, who had to give up many things so he could have a peaceful working environment. Not a perfect character, then, but a man I admired and would have liked to meet. Congratulations to the author for her extensive research.
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on 8 July 2014
Have just finally read and enjoyed this luminous and revealing biography of the poet Norman Nicholson, a conflicted man who was both a total insider and something of an outsider in his beloved Millom.. Having my own views on it I enjoyed Kathleen's even- handed treatment of the 'provincial versus the metropolitan' debate so close to Nicholson's. heart. And I also was reminded of some powerful poems and poets and of the self- serving sometimes bitter politics of the world of poetry. This well researched and accessible biography made me rush to buy some of Nicholson''s Collected Poems (1994) and his Greater Lakeland (1969). All links in the reading-writing-reading chain.
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on 30 May 2014
Kathleen Jones’s credentials for writing about Nicholson are sound; in addition to being a well-respected and experienced biographer, she is a poet, journalist and novelist. Here, she has produced a lucid and engaging biography that is a comprehensive examination of Nicholson’s unusual life, and his place in modern literature. With astute observation, but without intrusive judgements, she helps us understand the man and what drove his work. The book - a beautifully produced trade paperback - is fascinating in its personal detail and context of the history of the 20th Century and its poetry. It is a valuable introduction to a poet who still has something to tell.
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on 10 February 2014
This is a very in depth account of the life of Norman Nicholson providing much background detail and how this relates to the poet's writing, which is perhaps not as recognized and appreciated as it should be.
Well written and entertaining.
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on 21 March 2014
I knew very little about this poet, but now very grateful to have been taken by the hand and led through his work, his approach and his life.
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on 8 February 2014
We'll researched, detailed and informative book. Well written and an enjoyable read. Fantastic history of my home town of Millom.
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on 11 March 2014
Sadly not as much poetry as expected but interesting for anyone researching 'The Lake Poets' Easy to read and well laid out.
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on 25 February 2014
This is a about a Poet local to the area I live have found it very interesting and informative, worth a read.
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