Skip to main content

The Incredible Shrinking Poet: Nicholas Moore

I am writing a chapter on Nicholas Moore.  There is very little online or in print about this most remarkable of poets - except for what Peter Riley and Mark Ford and a few others have to say.  Encyclopedia Britannica online has 150 words on him.  He was born November 16, 1918 in Cambridgeshire, and died in 1986, was a conscientious objector and 1940s poet.

He worked closely with the major British poetry editors Tambimuttu and John Goodland, was the earliest English champion of Wallace Stevens, was widely respected in American poetry circles in the 40s, and by the 50s was pretty much totally persona non grata.  As Peter Riley observed in his introduction to the poet in Picador's Conductors of Chaos (the Picador before Don Paterson's differing tenure) - itself a curiously rare bird now - the poetry establishment/marketplace proved itself useless in spotting or rehabilitating talent as early as the 1960s, when it singularly failed to notice or publish Nicholas Moore, despite countless attempts to be published; one recalls the older Welles, unable to get arrested in Los Angeles.

How has such a stylish, marvellous, humane, funny, playful, brilliant poet - one admired by John Ashbery among others - managed to stay out of the limelight for so long?  In the rush to promote new poets, we may be doing an injustice if we do not also publish and republish the un-new ones, that remain mostly dead to us.  It is often said that poets keep poets alive in the commonwealth of their mutual respect and admiration - mostly not the case - poets cannot keep fellow deceased poets in print, or write essays about them, or get them into anthologies, or online, or onto syllabi's, or onto exam questions, or on the radio - unless they actively do so.  Moore remains out of print and lost again - 20 years after Carcanet's last rescue mission, in 1990, with a Selected itself out of print - and selling for over £100 now!
5 comments

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!