Leslie Norris: The Complete Poems

Ed. Meic Stephens
Introduction by Patrick McGuiness
Leslie Norris
Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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This landmark publication of more than 300 poems reflects the sixty plus year publishing life of the late Leslie Norris, who died in 2007, aged 86. Norris was best known as a nature poet and elegist of passion and rare expression. Lyrical and individual, to his closely observed poems, each word weighted and in its correct place, Norris introduces a strong metaphysical element which makes the poems, as Edward Lucie-Smith noted, “much larger than the sum of their parts”.

Arranged chronologically, and including poems never before published, the reader follows the developments of subject and style from an early enthrallment with Dylan Thomas, through the mediation of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, to the percolation of American styles which spending the last twenty years of his life in Utah inevitably brought. Norris paints a vivid world full of striking descriptive detail and extraordinarily realised people. Whether it is his native south Wales, the southern England of his early working life, or the majesty of the American west, Norris is fully engaged with his surroundings and their import.

To this core of work The Complete Poems adds his renderings of Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, and poems for children to produce the full range of this marvellous writer and his enduring work.

Leslie Norris was born in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, in 1921. Formerly a teacher and headmaster, he taught literature and creative writing for many years at a variety of American universities, most recently Brigham Young, where he was Christiansen Professor of Poetry. In addition to his many poetry collections he published two much admired volumes of short stories and three books for children. In the US he was published by Little,Brown and Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

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