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New & Selected Poems

Authors: Al Alvarez

Published by Waywiser

ISBN: 9781904130079

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It is almost twenty-five years since Al Alvarez last published a book of poetry. That volume, Autumn to Autumn and Selected Poems 1953-1976, contained all that Alvarez wished to preserve of his poetry at that time, and it was greeted enthusiastically by the reviewers. Peter Porter, for example, spoke of his "decorum", '"finely phrased lyricism" and "stoical weight", and concluded his article by saying that Alvarez "possessed talent of a high order".

Alvarez has not been a prolific poet, but as another admiring critic has written, though "slight indeed in volume", his verse "is rich in its economy". If we need an explanation for why the New & Selected Poems is not twice the length of its predecessor, that same critic's explanation is assuredly the right one: "Perhaps the standard he sets [for himself] is too high."

To the poems that appeared in Autumn to Autumn, this latest volume adds nine new poems. If the focus of his earlier work was on "love, separation and death", as John Fearns has claimed, the new poems are almost all of them preoccupied with love alone - love of a man for a woman, and love of a human being for the natural world. Alvarez's poetry has been unavailable for far too long, and Waywiser is proud to be making it available again
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