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From the publisher
Basil Bunting (1900-85) was one of the most important British poets of the 20th century. Acknowledged since the 1930s as a major figure in Modernist poetry, first by Pound and Zukofsky and later by younger writers, the Northumbrian master poet had to wait over 30 years before his genius was finally recognised in Britain - in 1966, with the publication of Briggflatts, which Cyril Connolly called 'the finest long poem to have been published in England since T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets'.
As well as Briggflatts, this new Complete Poems includes Bunting's other great Sonatas, most notably Villon (1925) and The Spoils (1951), along with his two books of Odes, his vividly realised 'Overdrafts' (as he called his free translations of Horace, Rudaki and others), and his brilliantly condensed Japanese adaptation, Chomei at Toyama (1932). Like the earlier Oxford edition, it presents in its entirety Bunting's own Collected Poems, with addition of the posthumous Uncollected Poems; but this centenary edition from Bloodaxe also has a new introduction by the late Richard Caddel.
Bunting wrote that 'Poetry, like music, is to be heard.' His own readings of his own work are essential listening for a full appreciation of his highly musical poetry. The new separate Bloodaxe edition of Briggflatts (2009) includes a CD with an audio recording Bunting made of Briggflatts in 1967 and a DVD of Peter Bell’s 1982 film portrait of Bunting.
'Briggflatts is one of the few great poems of this century. It seems to me greater each time I read it' - Thom Gunn.
'His poems are the most important which have appeared in any form of the English language since T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land' - Hugh MacDiarmid.