Compiled and edited by SIMON COLLINGS.
Introduction to the Mottram Dossier.
Eric Mottram (1924–95) was an influential figure in the British poetry world in the second half of the twentieth century. He played a major role in introducing British audiences to what was happening in American poetry, organising conferences in London at which the poets who read included Jonathan Williams, Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Duncan and Ted Berrigan. He wrote a pioneering book on Allen Ginsberg, and authored the first critical study on William Burroughs, with whom he became acquainted during Burroughs’ time in London. As editor of Poetry Review (1971–77), Mottram published American and European poets alongside a new generation of British writers, and he encouraged the new directions British poetry was taking through his teaching.
Mottram’s life and work have been celebrated in recent years in a series of conferences held at King’s College London, where he taught. The third of these events, Performed Poetics, took place 12–13 March 2022. Two of the papers presented at that gathering are published here as part of our dossier on Mottram: a memoir of Mottram by Clive Bush, and reflections from Jeff Hilson and Stephen McGarty on the ‘Radical Poetics’ seminars run by Mottram in the 1990s. Also included in the dossier is an extract from a journal Mottram kept while teaching at Kent State University in America in 1974. Only ten copies of that journal were printed and privately circulated. The material is published here for the first time, edited and annotated by Allen Fisher.
Finally, the dossier includes a series of previously unpublished poems by Eric Mottram which date from the final years of his life. These poems are in the archive of Mottram’s papers at King’s College and are published with the permission of the archive. I selected these from a number of unpublished typescripts identified in the archive files.
SIMON COLLINGS lives in Oxford. His poetry, short fiction, translations, reviews and essays have appeared in a wide range of magazines including Stride, Fortnightly Review, Café Irreal, Litter, International Times, Junction Box, The Long Poem Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, PN Review and Journal of Poetics Research. Why are you here?, a collection of his prose poems and short fiction, was published by Odd Volumes in November 2020. His third chapbook, Sanchez Ventura, was published by Leafe Press in spring 2021. He is a contributing editor of The Fortnightly Review. For more information, visit his webpage.