‘The aim is, more and more, to find a way of saying exactly what is happening in all this strange modern poetry, without resorting to the short-cuts available in pseudo-scientific vocabularies, and to come at some notion of the worth of the activity only by this route.’ — Peter Riley
For more than 50 years, Peter Riley’s creative and critical voice has given shape and substance to modern English-language poetry as a prize-winning poet and editor and writer of imaginative prose. For the last few years, he has served as poetry editor of The Fortnightly Review, whence these critical notices come. Denise Riley, John Burnside, Peter Hughes, Alistair Noon, Andrew Jordan, Sandeep Parmar, Kelvin Corcoran, Anthony Barnett, Barry Tebb, Ed Dorn, Barbara Guest, Joseph Ceravolo, James Schuyler, Simon Smith, Carherine Hales, John Welch, Anthony Mellors, Andrew McMillan and Robert Duncan are among the more than two dozen poets surveyed here.
About Peter Riley:
Peter Riley is a former co-editor of The English Intelligencer, the former editor of Collection, and the author of fifteen books of poetry – and some of prose. A recipient of a 2012 Cholmondeley Award for poetry, his latest book is Due North (Shearsman Books 2015), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2015. After many years in Cambridge, he now lives in Yorkshire.
‘Coming under the scrutiny of Peter Riley’s mind is to feel the weight of a lifetime’s commitment to Anglophone and French-language poetry, to encounter tastes formed by long questioning, reflecting, and understanding, and to hear, as good poets and readers must, how judgment of success in composition is no respecter of blanket denigration, sacred cow, or cult reputation. It is to be understood by an expert. Allowed the space by The Fortnightly Review to explore a host of ideas on his art, in direct engagement with others’ contributions, Riley remains his own man. Reading these review-essays is to be apprised through sustained inquiry of benefits and challenges in a broad swathe of recent poetry. Where product placement, measurable usefulness, compliance and craven correctness are prevalent, his critical intelligence is essential to such a society’s real culture. — Peter Robinson
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