Briggflatts

Briggflatts, one of the clear masterpieces of 20th century English poetry – Cyril Connolly called it ‘the finest long poem to have been published in England since T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets’ – rescued its author from relative obscurity when it appeared in 1966. Although in his youth he had been friends with Ezra Pound, Louis Zukofsky and Mina Loy and had been published in The Objectivist Anthology, after the Second World War he disappeared from active literary life, only to be rediscovered in the 1960s by a group of young poets interested in working with the Modernist tradition. This useful new edition of his greatest poem, a sort of spiritual autobiography rooted in the language and culture of his native Northumbria, comes with a CD of the poet reading (‘Southrons would maul the music of many lines in Briggflatts’ he complains in one of his sparse notes to the poem), a DVD of Peter Bell’s 1982 film portrait of the poet and a wealth of supplementary material including photographs, some prose works by Bunting and short critical and biographical notes by Richard Caddel, Neil Astley and Don Share.