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The Close Chaplet (2018) by Laura Riding, with a critical introduction by Mark Jacobs

The Close Chaplet



Laura Riding is a major experimental interwar poet who first discovered and championed the writing of Gertrude Stein and whose work has strongly influenced others as diverse as Robert Graves, W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and John Ashbery. Her first collection, The Close Chaplet, was published in 1926 by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press and sets the scene for the rest of Riding’s work. This edition includes the poet’s first poetic manifesto, ‘A Prophecy or a Plea' (1925).


Detailed Description

The Close Chaplet was published in 1926 by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, and, like Coleridge’s early ‘Kubla Khan’  and ‘The Ancient Mariner’, composed when he was twenty-five, it sets the scene for the rest of Laura Riding’s work, except that, where he largely lost his early poetic impetus, she expanded hers steadily, volume by volume, right into her Collected Poems, 1938, and then further, to The Telling (1972)  and other late work.

This, the first ever republication of The Close Chaplet, continues the development of Trent Editions’ Laura (Riding) Jackson series, following its new edition last year of her penultimate, apocalyptic, volume of poems, Poet: A Lying Word (1933). The cover has a previously unpublished passport photograph of the author taken before her momentous journey from New York to England to meet Robert Graves, arriving on New Year’s Day, 1926.

This new edition includes Riding's first poetic manifesto, ‘A Prophecy or a Plea’ (1925), which sets the context for the poems. Mark Jacobs' ground-breaking introduction demonstrates how this short essay turned poetry on its head, with the ensuing poems of The Close Chaplet, from the much-anthologized (if little understood) ‘The Quids’ to the remarkable but neglected ‘The Lady of the Apple’ as the consequence. This is the third publication by Trent Editions of work by Laura (Riding) Jackson, the first being The Person I Am (2011, edited by John Nolan and Carroll Ann Friedmann), the second, Poet: A Lying Word (2017, edited by Jack Blackmore).

A kindle version of this title is also available here


Reviews of The Close Chaplet:

‘This new and splendid edition “unearths the gem”, to adapt the poet’s own phrase from her opening poem of Laura Riding’s first contribution to twentieth century poetry and thought. It should convince a new generation of the originality and enduring value of her work' — Jack Blackmore, author of The Unthronged Oracle 

‘With a diverse play of imagination she combines in her poetry a sound intellectuality and a keen irony which gives her work a substance not often found in contemporary American poetry. Her work is philosophical in trend, yet not divorced from life, but generally tense with emotion and concerned with profound issues .... which gives her poetry the stamp of an original personality.’ — The Fugitive