Starting to Explain: Essays on Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry brings together work produced over the past twenty years by a critic whom Terry Eagleton described in The Independent On Sunday as possessing ‘a quick, erudite sense of English social history’, and whose writing on modern poets has been praised in the New Statesmen for its ‘alert commitment to the craft of poetry’.Staring to Explain begins with a consideration of Hardy’s Wessex Poems and ends with an essay on contemporary anthropologies. In between some extended essays on poets D.H. Lawrence, Ivor Gurney, Edgell Rickword, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Roy Fuller, W.S. Graham, Philip Larkin, Roy Fisher, Seamus Heaney and others, alongside more general pieces on such subjects as poetry and politics and jazz.
John Lucas, emeritus Professor of English at Nottingham Trent University, is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently A World Perhaps: New and Selected Poems, and of numerous works of criticism and literary scholarship. Since 1994 he has been publisher of Shoestring Press.
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