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The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980

The Poet Reclining: Selected Poems 1962-1980

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Ken Smith (1938-2003) 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 Shed: Poems 1980-2001 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002). His later work was included in the posthumous You Again (Bloodaxe Books, 2004).

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.

The Poet Reclining collects the poetry from his Yorkshire, Devon and American years, together with the transitional work, Fox Running.

"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