Poetry Book Society: The First 25 Years 1954–1978 by Eric W White (ed) - review by Edwin Morgan

Edwin Morgan

Poetry – the Place of the Will

Poetry Book Society: The First 25 Years 1954–1978

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This book is not, as its title might suggest, a history of the Poetry Book Society, though it does contain a historical sketch of that organization; more interestingly, it is an anthology of the brief introductions written for the Society's quarterly bulletin by poets whose books have been 'chosen' or 'recommended'. Some 40 pieces are selected here, out of the quarter century's 99 choices (1959 was the delinquent year, when only three choices could be squeezed out instead of the customary four) and 123 recommendations.

But what on earth is a poet to say about his own poetry that is not mumbling and fumbling, or breast beating, or clowning, or orating and prating? George Barker voices the dilemma for the other contributors: 'I haven't got anything at all to say about these poems that the

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