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John is currently working with Kevin Gardner of Baylor University, Texas, on an extensive anthology of modern country house poems.

For Carcanet, he is also editing a new edition of the poetry of the celebrated Scottish writer Iain Crichton Smith to appear in the Carcanet Classics series, and scheduled for 2021. There has not been a new Selected Poems since 1985.


Geoffrey Grigson’s Selected Poems

Sheds have come a long way since the man-cave cliché. These days, a shed is a far more democratic place – somewhere that symbolises the privacy and space that we all need. This anthology explores sheds from every imaginable angle. The poems take us to a child’s hiding place, a treasury of exotic implements and rich aromas and a retreat in which to remember the past. Derek Mahon’s fêted poem ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’ creates a mysterious inner world which seems to exist outside time. A shed may just be a place to keep the lawnmower, or it may be somewhere to escape to in order to write or paint. Sometimes it’s a haven in which to daydream when the house is full of noise and bustle. Elsewhere it’s:
A sea-side arbour, a garden shanty,
knocked together out of driftwood and furnished
with a beat-up sofa…
  from ‘Arbour’ by Kathleen Jamie

This enchanting selection leads the reader quietly into private worlds and makes the perfect gift for every shed-lover.
Poems by Fleur Adcock, Alison Brackenbury, John Greening, Stuart Henson, Kathleen Jamie, Derek Mahon, John McAuliffe, MR Peacocke, Carol Rumens, Vernon Scannell. Cover illustration by David&Rews.

Geoffrey Grigson’s Selected Poems

GEOFFREY GRIGSON (1905-1985 ) was for many years a vital figure in the literary life of Britain. A controversial and notoriously unsparing reviewer, he edited the journal New Verse which brought W.H.Auden and other writers of the 1930s to prominence.  His encyclopaedic knowledge of poetry and poets made him an anthologist of unrivalled scope and originality, and he was an early champion of once neglected figures such as John Clare and Ivor Gurney. He wrote authoritatively about Samuel Palmer and other artists, too. But he was most popular as a writer on the countryside, with works such as The Englishman’s Flora, his various Shell Guides, and articles for Country Life finding him a wide readership.

For much of his life Geoffrey Grigson was writing (as well as writing about) poetry, but it was only when he was in his sixties that this considerable body of work attracted much attention. Late in life he found advocates as diverse as Jeremy Hooker, Tom Paulin, Peter Reading, Peter Scupham, and Anne Stevenson, who praised his ‘purity of vision’ and ‘bell-like clarity of wisdom’.  However, the Collected Poems by which he chose to be remembered only represents the years from 1963 to 1980, and three subsequent individual volumes, which received considerable acclaim and Poetry Book Society awards, remained uncollected. 

This new selection draws on poetry from Grigson’s debut collection in 1939 up to his very last poem written in September 1985. It represents the full range of his work, notably the love poems, the satires, the landscapes and sketches of rural life, and the many autobiograpical pieces. Here are fascinating glimpses and snapshots and meditations and squibs from this irascible Cornishman, this seventh son, who lost all his brothers before he was middle-aged, who was married three times (finally to the cookery writer, Jane Grigson), who knew most of the famous poets of his day, who was friendly with artists such as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, John Piper, who was quintessentially English yet was devoted to France and to the idea of Europe, who lived through two world wars, and endured many more purely literary feuds – including a notorious bust-up with Roy Campbell. 

Now the smoke has had time to clear, what remains is Geoffrey Grigson’s poetry – sharp, economical, by turns lyrical or barbed, restlessly attentive to the physical world, its delights and its terrors.

Grigson’s Selected Poems is available Autumn 2017 from Greenwich Exchange


john greening Accompanied Voices


ACCOMPANIED VOICES is a unique book: not only is it a highly readable anthology of some of the most memorable and accessible international writing about classical music, and a moving commentary by one set of practising artists on the work of another. It is also something of a chronological guide to the great composers, following the story of western music in the language which comes closest to music itself poetry.


Readers unaccustomed to poetry anthologies will find in ACCOMPANIED VOICES the same pleasure that they might find in simply putting on a CD and listening. Every page brings something unexpected or illuminating, funny or heartbreaking. Here we begin to realise just how much Ted Hughes or R.S.Thomas took from Beethoven, or what Bach meant to First World War veteran Ivor Gurney or Holocaust survivor Lotte Kramer. We meet poets who have long been exploring classical music (Peter Porter, John Fuller) or are musicians themselves (Fiona Sampson, Gwen Harwood). We hear Ronald Duncan on Britten, George Mackay Brown on Peter Maxwell Davies. But there is Norman Nicholson on Grieg, too, Jo Shapcott on Schoenberg, Dannie Abse on Wagner; the poetry of a former Archbishop as well as that of a former Poet Laureate.


Poet and music lover John Greening adds a substantial introduction and detailed notes on the work of well over a hundred distinguished poets and their subjects.


Further details: