Collected Poems: Volume Two 1997–2021
Foreword by Ian McMillan
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 second volume includes poems from the second half of Finch’s career, in which his poems also appeared in his prose books, and in the public realm on sculptures, walls and buildings particularly in his native Cardiff. Yet still the poems continued to ‘operate at the far edges of what poetry is understood to be’. Although the poetry landscape of Britain has changed since Finch’s first published poem in 1968, his desire to experiment, to question what constitutes a poem, and to challenge orthodoxy has remained both undiminished and relevant.
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 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 now 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 Ian McMillan’s perceptive 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