It opens with early, uncollected pieces – some of which were experimental and concrete – moves on to the traditionally styled poems of the 70s and 80s and then towards a late flowering in the 90s, which features a startling shift in style and a new focus on letters and the alphabet.
His wider concerns: history, the human peril to the natural world, tragic public events (such as the King's Cross Fire), are played out across a formal grid of beautiful complexity. These strikingly original, ambitious poems are both profoundly moving and technically adroit. This volume offers the reader a wide selection from the author’s six published books, along with several new poems.
"In no other time but our own, perhaps, would a poet feel obliged to wrap up his moralizing in such delicate phraseology, or make such a backdoor affair of his faith. Ward, however, manages brilliantly, combining an uncompromising integrity with a contemporary flair for understatement... One is left with the impression of having been told the truth cleanly and with warmth."
The Times Literary Supplement
"A major contribution to late twentieth century poetry."
Bulletin of the Welsh Academy
John Powell Ward was born in Suffolk and educated at the Universities of Toronto, Cambridge and Wales. Editor of Poetry Wales from 1975 to 1980, he is the author of critical works on Wordsworth and R.S. Thomas among others, and editor of the Border Lines series. He has also published several volumes of poetry.