The earliest was published on the eve of D-Day; the last was written as part of the campaign to save the Community Hospital in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, where Rattenbury lived.
These poems are written in many different voices - public and private, personal and political, lyrical and satirical. Some are new, others are uncollected or from unfinished books. An extract from a verse-play rubs shoulders with a chapter from an unpublished verse novel. Idiosyncratic, technically brilliant and eloquent with passionate anger, Several Forms of Speech features a cast of painters and paintings, clowns and mummers, friends and foes. It’s a book about art and love, empire and war, faith and community. And it is a reaffirmation of the necessity of Revolution.
‘Realistic poet whose gifts found expression in words, exhibition designs and friendship. A poet of distinction.’
— John Lucas, the Guardian
Arnold Rattenbury was born in 1921 in China, where his parents were Methodist missionaries. After the Second World War he edited the radical magazines Our Time and Theatre Today, and worked full-time for the Communist Party before embarking on a career as an exhibition designer. He published seven books of poetry, Second Causes, Man Thinking, Dull Weather Dance, Morris Papers, The Frigger Makers, Living Here and Mr Dick’s Kite. He died in April 2007, shortly after putting together