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Eighty Poems Or So

Ivor Gurney

Edited by George Wlater

Cover Picture of Eighty Poems Or So
Categories: 20th Century
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Blue is the valley, blue the distant tower,
    And Cotswold draped in mist behind the azure.
    In April has there come November hour
    And there is melancholy without measure.
    No apples dropping from trees, no chestnuts thudding,
    Dumb spring without a sign waits the day coming
    But in such drab trance nothing can come sudden;
    Time hesitates, but moves to an east looming
    With night gathering dusk banners of woe,
    Shall out-front azure, and the gray road winding:
    A grizzen carpet folded very slow.
    That valley soon will be hidden beyond finding.

    from `Coming Dusk'

    In 1922 Ivor Gurney entered the Dartford asylum where he was to stay for the rest of his life. Only an occasional poem in a magazine was published and he died almost forgotten in 1937. Like Isaac Rosenberg and like his beloved Edward Thomas, he was a substantial war poet whose value was discovered late; like Thomas and Charlotte Mew, he would have been a lumen et decor in the Georgian canon. It was not until the 1982 Collected Poems, edited by P.J.Kavanagh, that his stature -- and the disgrace of his neglect -- became apparent.

    He did not stop writing. P.J.Kavanagh produced the Collected and Selected Poems in 1982 and 1990. Gurney went from small books to Collected in a single leap. It is worth reconstructing a more conventional process, reinventing books Gurney wished to see published in his lifetime. He put such volumes together, as John Clare did a century earlier, without hope of publication. 80 Poems or So is perhaps the most complete and is published to mark the sixtieth anniversary of his death.
    Table of Contents


    Texts Cited

    Suggested Further Reading


    Map: Gurney's Gloucester and Cotswolds

    80 POEMS OR SO


    Index of Titles and First Lines

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