An Introduction to Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s Work

  • Martin Harrison
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


The current situation of modern British poetry had already come into existence by the early 70s when Veronica Forrest-Thomson was writing her book Poetic Artifice. In part, there was and still is a sense of frustration at the lack mainly of critical receptivity to innovation in poetry — the ‘public’, I’d better add, have never had a chance. Equally, there was and still is a retrospective sense of a gaping hole, an inexplicable missing of heart-beat after the modernist and innovative directions which occurred in Britain earlier in the century. The past ten years have, I think, begun to show that this latter impression was significantly wrong in detail, even if all too understandable as an emotive reaction. The hole has, as it were, been filled — the heart was, it seems, beating even if the head chose to ignore it. For there has been a slow increase of recognition (largely among contemporary poets) for the works of Bunting, Prince, Silkin and Graham, a different and more literate appreciation of Plath and McDiarmid and some slight renewal of interest in hitherto lost poets such as Loy, Sykes-Davies and Madge. But the predominance of an essentially upper-middle-class, realist, old-fashioned orthodoxy has yet to be significantly challenged….


Poetic Language Creative Innovation Gaping Hole Opposing Figure Modern Poet 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

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  • Martin Harrison

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