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CAMBRIDGE AND NEW YORK

In an interview with Peter Ryan titled ‘From Missile Crisis to English Intelligencer’, published in Don’t Start Me Talking (2006), Andrew Crozier talked about his early reading of modern poetry in his last two years at Dulwich College, before he left in July 1961 to read English at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He referred to work by Norman MacCaig and Christopher Logue, as well as the American John Crowe Ransom, but it was not until his final year at Cambridge that he became deeply involved with the world of American modernism that was to influence his own work extensively over the following years.

During my last two or three years at school [1958–61] I began reading modern poetry; the first modern British poet I read seriously, borrowing the books from the public library, was Norman MacCaig. (The other one I remember reading in the same way was Christopher Logue.) So I can remember reading A Common Grace by Norman MacCaig when it was published and also Christopher Logue’s translations of Pablo Neruda, and a volume of Logue’s own poems published by Villiers Press. My reason for writing poems I think had to do with, perhaps I read a lot of poetry at the time, but up till the summer of 1963 I did not consider that writing poems might be a serious business, in other words it was a talent or a competence that people possessed at which I essayed my own abilities. I think that when I first tried to write poems I was interested first of all in what my contemporaries did, which impressed me considerably by its competence because they actually produced a finished text. I refer to undergraduate poets in my own years at Cambridge, people who were writing poems then and publishing them in university magazines, who no longer write poems and whose names need no longer be remembered. The second influence had to do with poems I was then reading, and my understanding of poetry as it was undertaken in England at that time was partial. I might be aware of Christopher Logue and Norman MacCaig, for example, but I couldn’t put them onto any kind of map together. I also read American poets and I can remember being interested while I was still at school by John Crowe Ransom. That should be seen in the

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