Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay is a partial autobiography of my effort to write poetry over some forty-five years. It begins with an account and discussion of early influences in the 1960s. The key conflict is described as between a desire to write rhetorical poems addressing political and historical subjects, and an impulse towards the poem as an artefact, as understood through my encounter with poetic modernism. This devolves upon Jon Silkin’s critique of the ‘image’ in the work of Geoffrey Hill. These concepts then frame my analyses of several of my poems from the 1960s to the present. The poems are seen as engaging with specific ideas whilst their language, in the context of a poem, also exerts independent energies: in Christopher Middleton’s terms, the word as referent and the word as phenomenon. In general, the form of poetry is seen as the available space that most fully tries to engage these inherent tensions in the nature of language.

Keywords: meaning, referent, discursiveness, form, shape, image, modernism, free verse, metric, History

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.