PLEASE NOTE: From 1st of July 2021, shipments from the UK to EU countries will be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) charges. Orders placed through this website are shipped Delivery Duties Unpaid (DDU) and customers in the EU may have to pay import VAT (and customs duties, if payable) and a handling fee in the receiving country.

Shed: Poems 1980-2001

Shed: Poems 1980-2001

Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price

Ken Smith was a major voice in world poetry, his work and example inspiring a whole generation of younger British poets. He collected his poetry from four decades in two volumes, The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980 (Bloodaxe Books, 1982) and this book, Shed: Poems 1980-2001 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002), published the year before his untimely death in 2003.

Ken Smith's poetry shifted territory with time, from rural Yorkshire, America and London to the war-ravaged Balkans and Eastern Europe (before and after Communism). His early books span a transition from a preoccupation with land and myth to his later engagement - which achieves its full flowering in Shed - with urban Britain and the politics of radical disaffection.

Shed houses poems from all the poetry books by Ken Smith published by Bloodaxe during the 80s and 90s including a set of new poems. His later work was included in the posthumous You Again (Bloodaxe Books, 2004).

Shed, as in the shed at the end of the garden where the first scribblings that begat many of these poems took place; Shed as in the shedding of skins in these poems, the shedding of lives and identities, from the lost President Perdu and the night on the town enjoyed by Smith's wandering landsman, Charlie Delta, and the seafarer, Abel Baker, to the restless other lives of Eddie in America and the marooned sailor in Medellin.

"Ken Smith was a great poetÖ His last retrospective collection, Shed, confirmed the immense power of his poetry."
Jon Glover, The Guardian

"Smith's writing exists in permanent disagreement with English fashion. A huge cast of overheard characters, wanderers, losers and remembrancers passes through his writing, bound by a common sense of loss and endurance."
Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

"His poems are squeezed out from under the unrelenting pressures of history, politics and the natural elementsÖ some of his poems read like translations from war-ravaged Eastern Europe."
Charles Boyle, The London Magazine

"Ken Smith brought an original and memorable voice to poetry in Britain. He spent his writing life not so much swimming against the tide as ignoring the stream's existenceÖ He was one of those by whom the language lives."
The Independent