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The Tenth Muse

Edited by Anthony Astbury

Cover Picture of The Tenth Muse
10% off
Categories: 20th Century, Anthologies, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Hardback (180 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2005)
£14.95 £13.45
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Contents
  • 'I suddenly wondered one day why there were no selections made by poets' wives or muses - and how wonderful it would be to have, say, Mrs Shakespeare's or Mrs Wordsworth's choices...'

    Anthony Astbury

    There are nine muses in Greek mythology: this anthology celebrates the tenth, the figure in a poet's life who inspires, criticises, interprets and supports. First published as pamphlets by Anthony Astbury's legendary Greville Press, each selection here has been made by a wife, husband, son or daughter of the poet. Each selector brings to the role a unique insight into the work of a poet whose life they have shared; each selection honours relationship in a different way. The Tenth Muse ranges in time from Myfanwy Thomas choosing poems by her father Edward, to Lady Antonia Fraser selecting those of Harold Pinter. There is coherence in the abundance this book provides, and the text is enriched with double portraits and memoirs. The Tenth Muse is an illuminating series of intimate dialogues between poets and those closest to their hearts.

    The Tenth Muse includes:

    George Barker selected by Elspeth Barker
    Thomas Blackburn selected by Julia Blackburn
    Lawrence Durrell selected by Francoise Kestman-Durrell
    David Gascoyne selected by Judy Gascoyne
    W.S. Graham selected by Nessie Dunsmuir
    Robert Graves selected by Beryl Graves
    Harold Pinter selected by Antonia Fraser
    Ann Ridler selected by Vivian Ridler
    C.H. Sisson selected by Nora Sisson
    Elizabeth Smart selected by Sebastian Barker
    Dylan Thomas selected by Aeronwy Thomas
    Edward Thomas selected by Myfanwy Thomas
    David Wright selected by Oonagh Swift

    Table of Contents

    Preface by Michael Schmidt

    Poems by George Barker, selected by Elspeth Barker


    Allegory of the Adolescent and the Adult

    Battersea Park

    To My Mother

    Summer Song I

    'Turn on your side and bear the day to me'

    Galway Bay

    On a Friend's Escape from Drowning off the Norfolk Coast

    Roman Poem III

    At Thurgarton Church

    Morning in Norfolk

    from Villa Stellar

    A Version of Animula Vagula Blandula

    'For a Child': Poems by Thomas Blackburn, selected by Julia Blackburn


    Exorcism of Ghosts

    Prayer for the Unborn Children

    Last Night

    The Unpredictable

    An Aftermath

    The Drummer

    A Smell of Burning


    By the Water

    In the Fire

    Hospital for Defectives

    For a Child


    The Sediment

    Mental Ward

    Kinder Scout




    An Epitaph

    'Too Far to Hear the Singing': Poems by Lawrence Durrell, selected by Françoise Kestsman Durrell



    from Cities, Plains and People

    Song for Zarathustra


    The Octagon Room


    The Ikons

    The Outer Limits

    Feria: Nîmes

    Le cercle refermé

    Poems by David Gascoyne, selected by Judy Gascoyne


    September Sun: 1947

    The Goose-Girl

    Oxford: A Spring Day

    Rex Mundi

    Sentimental Colloquy

    November in Devon


    from Three Venetian Nocturnes



    Odeur de Pensée

    A Tough Generation

    The Sacred Hearth

    from Miserere

    Prelude to a New Fin-de-Siècle

    A Sarum Sestina

    Poems by W.S. Graham, selected by Nessie Dunsmuir

    To ND

    O Gentle Queen of the Afternoon

    Here Next the Chair I Was When Winter Went

    Shian Bay


    from The Nightfishing

    Letter VI

    I Leave This at Your Ear

    from The Dark Dialogues

    O Why Am I So Bright

    A Walk to the Gulvas

    Loch Thom

    from Implements in their Places

    To My Wife at Midnight

    'Yesterday Only' and other poems: Poems by Robert Graves, selected by Beryl Graves


    Two Fusiliers

    I Am the Star of Morning

    Full Moon

    The North Window

    A History

    The Presence

    From an Upper Window

    Return Fare


    The Felloe'd Year

    Recalling War

    A Love Story

    Despite and Still

    Theseus and Ariadne

    To Juan at the Winter Solstice

    Nuns and Fish

    The Last Day of Leave (1916)

    Counting the Beats

    The Devil at Berry Pomeroy

    Dialogue on the Headland

    Ouzo Unclouded

    The Hearth

    The Narrow Sea

    Song: Fig Tree in Leaf

    What We Did Next

    Song: Yesterday Only

    Song: Olive Tree

    A Dream of Frances Speedwell

    The Moon's Last Quarter

    The Green Woods of Unrest

    At the Gate

    The Unpenned Poem

    Poems by Harold Pinter, selected by Antonia Fraser




    I know the place


    Denmark Hill

    Joseph Brearley 1909-1977

    Poem (The lights glow.)


    Before They Fall

    Cricket at Night


    Cancer Cells

    It Is Here

    Poems by Anne Ridler, selected by Vivian Ridler


    Cold in March

    Bunhill Fields

    Kirkwall 1942

    At Parting

    For a Child Expected

    Bathing in the Windrush

    Expectans Expectavi

    To Mark Time

    Bach's B Minor Mass

    Piero della Francesca

    Venetian Scene

    'I who am here dissembled'

    On a Picture by Michele da Verona

    A Matter of Life and Death

    Choosing a Name

    The Surprise

    A Triolet for Christmas

    Diamond Wedding

    Poems by C.H. Sisson, selected by Nora Sisson

    In the Hills

    In Kent

    A Duckling

    At the Airport


    Ellick Farm

    The Temple

    Thomas de Quincey

    On My Fifty-First Birthday

    For Patrick Swift

    The Garden


    The Red Admiral

    For the Queen's Jubilee


    The Pleasers

    from Ode for St George's Day

    from On the Departure

    The Question

    The Best Thing to Say

    Address to Whom It May Concern

    Poems by Elizabeth Smart, selected by Sebastian Barker

    There's Nobody Here But Us Chickens

    A Warning

    A Bonus

    Trying to Write

    The Muse: His & Hers

    What is Art? Said Doubting Tim

    Slightly Rhyming Verses for Jeff Bernard's Fiftieth Birthday

    To David Gascoyne, On His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, Some Blue Himalayan Poppies, First Found On The Roof of the World By An Intrepid Hunter, And These Inadequate Verses From His Friend Elizabeth

    Rose Died

    Poems by Dylan Thomas, selected by Aeronwy Thomas


    And Death Shall Have No Dominion

    The Hand That Signed the Paper

    The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower

    After the Funeral

    A Letter to My Aunt Discussing the Correct Approach to Modern Poetry

    The Hunchback in the Park

    This Side of the Truth

    The Conversation of Prayer

    In My Craft or Sullen Art

    Fern Hill


    Over Sir John's Hill

    Poems by Edward Thomas, selected by Myfanwy Thomas






    March the 3rd

    Old Man

    The Brook


    Fifty Faggots

    from Roads

    The Owl

    As the team's head brass

    The Cherry Trees

    A Private

    In Memoriam (Easter 1915)

    Lights Out

    Out in the dark

    The Lofty Sky

    Poems by David Wright, selected by Oonagh Swift

    A South African Album

    Monologue of a Deaf Man

    A Fish Out of Water

    Making Verses

    Rhapsody of a Middle-Aged Man


    For George Barker at Seventy

    In Memoriam David Archer


    Letter to C.H. Sisson

    E.P. at Westminster

    Those Walks We Took

    The Tomb of Virgil

    A Funeral Oration

    Notes on the poets and selectors


    Anthony Astbury is the director of the Greville Press, which he founded in 1975. He has published four collections of his own verse, edited selections and anthologies, including The Tenth Muse (Carcanet 2005), and written memoirs of his friends George Barker, W.S. Graham, John Heath-Stubbs, Harold Pinter and David Wright. ... read more
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