Collected Poems: Volume One 1968–1997
Foreword by Nerys Williams
Also available as a Complete Set for just £30.00
“Since the early 1970s, Finch has been the principal innovator in Welsh poetry... he deserves a Welsh knighthood.” – Richard Kostelanetz, Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes
The two volumes of Peter Finch’s Collected Poems chart the course of a remarkable writing career. After reading Allen Ginsberg’s Howl as a young man Finch was inspired to become a poet, founded Second Aeon magazine and publishing house, and become a poetry entrepreneur, bringing to all these things an unquenchable vitality which set him apart in contemporary poetry.
This first volume makes available poems from long lost chapbooks, broadsheets and limited editions, as well as more conventionally published work. Here are concrete poems, sound poems, typographical poems, visual poems, poems in cartoon form or as crumpled photocopies. Whatever their form, Finch’s poems are always vivid and alive, pulsing with inventive energy. As he says himself, this is work which pushes the idea on until it breaks, flowers, or dissolves. It means that Finch’s writing can never be taken for granted.
The Collected Poems is also a restless exploration of the ideas behind the poems. It is a testament to the experimental in literature, to ways of pushing boundaries and doing it differently, and to an alternative modernist culture in Wales and Britain. Consequently, invaluably, they also open a window on a poetry scene seemingly lost from view to the twenty-first century. They remind us that there was interesting and vital writing happening outside of what has calcified into the canon of twentieth century British poetry. And that Finch was at its cutting edge.
Editor Andrew Taylor has included an informative Introduction, a timeline of Finch’s artistic activity, and helpful notes. The book is completed by poet Nerys Williams’ appreciative Foreword.
“For 40 years he has been the Welsh avant-garde, as inventive and as indispensable as he has been consistently undervalued and ignored... one of the few Welsh writers capable of entrancing young students with his verbal chutzpah, his Crazy Gang of words. Henffych, Peter: a hir oes eto i’ch egni ac i’ch dawn.” – M. Wynn Thomas