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Agenda: An Anthology

The First Four Decades 1959-1993

Edited by William Cookson

Foreword by Grey Gowrie

Agenda: An Anthology
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ISBN: 978 1 857543 02 5
Categories: Anthologies
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: October 1996
215 x 134 x 28 mm
320 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Hardback
  • Description
  • Editors
  • Reviews
  • Agenda, one of the longest-lived and most distinctive 'little magazines' of the last four decades, was established in 1959 by the young William Cookson in response to a suggestion from Ezra Pound. Cookson combines a commitment to contemporary work with special issues reappraising the crucial figures in his Modernist firmament: Pound, MacDiarmid, David Jones. He has kept an attentive eye on the classics, and on the Moderns in languages other than English -- notably Cocteau, Mandelshtam and Ungaretti.

    Many major poets choose to publish in Agenda despite its modest circulation and small fees: it allows writers freedom and confers, by its imprimatur, legitimacy on the new. For Cookson the legacy of Modernism is vital; it has not been displaced by reaction or the post-modern but remains a challenge, in the present. Among distinguished poets of our time we find Geoffrey Hill, Donald Davie, C.H. Sisson, Seamus Heaney, R.S. Thomas and Tom Scott prominent in Agenda's pages.

    This anthology, first published in 1994 and now available in paperback, is divided into antecedents, modern poetry, criticism, memoirs and the polemics which give it its timeless authority, as though it was a lineal descendant of Criterion and the legendary Calendar of Modern Letters.
    William Cookson was a poet, critic and the founding editor of Agenda, which since the 1960s championed the work of Ezra Pound, David Jones and Geoffrey Hill among other distinguished modern poets. He also edited of Ezra Pound: Selected Prose 1909–1965 (1973). He died in 2003. ... read more
    ... read more
    'The briefest look at the index of poets represented here will testify to the work done by Agenda since it appeared in 1959.'
    Times Literary Supplement
    Praise for Grey Gowrie 'The Domino Hymn' rages movingly against the dying of the light, covering heroic distances and charting epic struggles in the space of eighteen unflinching and atmospheric pages. Grey Gowrie's poems - utterly free from any querulous or self-pitying role - touch the reader's own heart as they give voice to the 'poor, bare, forked' individuals who are enmeshed in the tubes and wires of machine-age medicine.'
    Times Literary Supplement
    'Grey Gowrie's great Third Day: New and Selected Poems - a fine, stoical portrait of the age - fulfils all expectations'.
    Derek Mahon, the Irish Times, 29 November 2008
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