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Selected Poems

John Riley

John Riley, Selected Poems (cover)
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (160 pages)
(Pub. Jul 1995)
£12.95 £11.65
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • I have brought it to my heart to be a still point
    Of praise for the powers which move towards me as I
    To them, through the dimensions a tree opens up,

    Or a window, or a mirror. Creatures fell
    Silent, then returned my stare.
    Or a window, or a mirror. The shock of re-

    Turning to myself after a long journey,
    With music, has made me cry, cry out -- angels
    And history through the heart's attention grow transparent.

    'Poem (for Rilke in Switzerland)'

    By his death, at the age of 41, John Riley's poetry had achieved an importance beyond the trends of the day. Significant though his poems were in the 1960s and after, their value goes beyond their immediate poetic and social context. Riley's is a poetry of integrity and vision, in which precise observation and wit co-exist with an extraordinary beauty of image and rhythm. What he achieves is art of a high order. Selected Poems draws on The Collected Works (edited by Tim Longville for Grosseteste in 1980). Michael Grant traces the poet's development, from his first significant collection, Ancient and Modern (1967) to some of his last, posthumous, pieces. Czargrad appears in its final form, and Ways of ApproachingThat Is Today and A Meeting are given in full. Michael Grant has written a brief biographical preface and a critical afterword.
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