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introduction

3

There is another side to this, of course, connected with the vanity of not wishing to appear an historical figure. Enough said the better!

In an article for the London Review of Books in July 1997, Jeremy Harding highlighted some of the essential ingredients of a Crozier poem and made it abundantly clear why this poetry most certainly should be back in print:

In his easy vernacular, Crozier tamps down language with the skill of a painter achieving a rare equivalence of terms on the canvas. Often, too, we find an observed action or a local detail quickly entailed to something larger and simpler: the pattern of day and night, seasonal change, or the slippage of light and shadow. This has the effect of ascribing thought and emotion not to the speaking subject (the poet) but to the processes of the poem. A deceptively shambling manner, with its cat’s cradles of clauses, promiscuous participles and other equivocations of grammar spreads the load of the bigger themes and adds to a sense of forms thinking aloud, in a number of voices. Once again, the approach is painterly: the figurative elements of a typical Crozier poem are briefly acknowledged and then abstracted by the momentum of its composition into the broadest space it can construe. The result is extraordinary.

This collage-like inventiveness was noted in Peter Riley’s Guardian obituary from July 2008, as was Crozier’s proposition that ‘a poem should be constantly and freshly conceived as a construct of language which achieves beauty through a fidelity to the actual’. His meditations on landscape and on the intimacy of the domestic world are ‘expressed in a bared honesty which is the result of considerable discipline’. Riley went on to present a vivid picture of that ‘historical figure’ Andrew Crozier had wryly abjured:

From the outset, Crozier worked to bring practitioners together. In 1966 he founded The English Intelligencer, a ‘worksheet’ circulated among some 30 poets to exchange knowledge of their current activities without worrying too much about finished poems, and from 1964 onwards ran The Ferry Press, which published first or early books of many important British poets in carefully designed editions, frequently with covers designed by then little-known artists, including Patrick Caulfield and Michael

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