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Norman Cameron: Collected Poems and Selected Translations

Norman Cameron

Edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker

Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (176 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2011)
Out of Stock
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    Forgive Me, Sire

    Forgive me, Sire, for cheating your intent,
    That I, who should command a regiment,
    Do amble amiably here, O God,
    One of the neat ones in your awkward squad.


    The Dirty Little Accuser

    Who invited him in? What was he doing here,
    That insolent little ruffian, that crapulous lout?
    When he quitted a sofa, he left behind him a smear.
    My wife says he even tried to paw her about.

    What was worse, if, as often happened, we caught him out
    Stealing or pinching the maid’s backside, he would leer,
    With a cigarette on his lip and a shiny snout,
    With a hint: ‘You and I are all in the same galère.’

    Yesterday we ejected him, nearly by force,
    To go on the parish, perhaps, or die of starvation;
    As to that, we agreed, we felt no kind of remorse.

    Yet there’s this check on our righteous jubilation:
    Now that the little accuser is gone, of course,
    We shall never be able to answer his accusation.



    from François Villon

    Death, of thy rigour I complain:
    Hast ravished my mistress hence,
    And wilt not yet show penitence,
    But holdest me in swooning pain,
    With all my vital forces ta’en.
    How did her life give thee offence,

    We had one heart between the twain:
    If she be dead, it follows thence
    That I must die, or in pretence
    Live on, like images that feign


    A newly revised paperback issue of the first complete edition of Norman Cameron’s poetry. As Jonathan Barker writes in his introduction, it is ‘the product of the shared transatlantic enthusiasm of Warren Hope and myself for the work of a poet whom we both see as unjustly neglected.’ Cameron (1905–53) has never lacked admirers among his fellow poets – Roy Fuller, Geoffrey Grigson, Robert Graves, among others – but since his skilful, moving and quietly memorable poems have not been reprinted since 1957, they have not reached the wider audience which they deserve.

    The growing appetite for his work was anticipated by Warren Hope, whose research for the 1985 American edition brought to light thirteen uncollected poems and some translations from Heine and the Czech poet Nezval. In this edition, the poems are followed by selections from his verse translation of Villon; all his miscellaneous verse translations (except those of Rimbaud, which are published by Anvil in a separate volume); and his juvenilia.

    Norman Cameron
    Norman Cameron (1905–1953) was a frequent contributor to Geoffrey Grigson’s New Verse . During the war he served with British forces in Austria, returning to London and advertising in 1947. His Collected Poems and Selected Translations edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker was first published by Anvil in 1990. His ... read more
    Warren Hope
    Warren Hope was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1944. He is the author of several books, including Adam’s Thoughts in Winter (2001), which includes a selection of poems from the years 1970 to 2000, and Moving In (2004). He is also the author of ( Norman Cameron: His Life, Work and ... read more
    Jonathan Barker
    Jonathan Barker has worked as Deputy Director of Literature for the British Council and Librarian of the Arts Council Poetry Library. He has contributed critical articles and reviews to a number of poetry journals and has edited bibliographies of contemporary poetry, poetry anthologies, an edition of the poems of W.H. Davies ... read more
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