Bill Griffiths's mix of street-wise academia and boundary dancing poetry have engaged audiences now for at least four decades. He possesses that ability to mix chance with intent, history with fiction and irreverent music with non-received pronunciation in order to deliver what has become one of the most consistently creative bodies of poetic writing made during the past century. That his name does not yet trip off the tongue of mainstream poetry buyers is something that should be swiftly corrected. To know where we are with our verse in the UK an understanding of Griffiths is essential. -- Peter Finch In a world packed with fraudulent choirboys, every now and again a truly oppositional voice gets through. Bill Griffiths has one of those voices. It's great to see his shattered sea shanties and anarchist shards of sprung wit finally getting a little of the attention they deserve. -- Sean Bonney Bill Griffiths is a national treasure and it sometimes seems he is buried under a mound like the Sutton Hoo treasures, inviolate, timely and glittering, but there's not a speck of dirt on him. Our treasure hoard is his word hoard. He loans us his unique perspectives - gnomic, relaxed, critical, esoteric, outsider - along with his loan words. Compressed like a jewel they accept the elucidation generously offered to them, without specifically inviting it. This book provides that. -- Robert Sheppard Bill Griffiths is one the most distinguished poets to come to the fore in British poetry in the 1970s. He is at once erudite and accomplished, drawing from Old English as often as modern and contemporary parlance. From his ground-breaking sequence Cycles to his translations of The Battle of Maldon to his more recent Durham, his work engages with gravitas, humour and song - often in the same poem. Reading and rereading his work continues to be both invigorating and sustaining. Each new collection of his work brings reliable strength with vulnerable surprise. -- Allen Fisher
William Rowe teaches contemporary British and Latin American poetry at Birkbeck College, where he is Director of the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre. He has written on Maggie O'Sullivan, Lee Harwood, Eric Mottram, Allen Fisher, and William Carlos Williams and is the author of Three Lyric Poets: Lee Harwood, Barry MacSweeney and Chris Torrance, forthcoming from Northcote House in the Writers and Their Work series. His translations of contemporary Latin American poets have been widely published, and he has three books on Latin American poetry, including Poets of Contemporary Latin America: History and the Inner Life (OUP, 2000).