This is the first book to offer a comprehensive overview of the work of important British poet Lee Harwood, from his earliest writing as a follower of French Surrealism and New York poetry, when he was a leading light of the ‘Underground’ poetry of the 1960s, through to his long work The Long Black Veil and his major work since. It examines his work in terms of influence, poetics, gender, sexuality, eco-politics, as well as evidence of the spatial turn in contemporary culture. It also assesses his work in prose. The writers are drawn from a wide-range of literary backgrounds and approaches, but the editor draws these together in his introduction, which is followed by his own account of the story of Harwood’s development, as well as the text of an unpublished interview with him. The book contains a useful bibliography of Harwood’s work.
More generally, it demonstrates how various schools of criticism may be used to illumine a single topic, and how these may be compared. The writers include some of the major critics of British alternative poetry as well as some newcomers who offer a fresh view of this much-loved work.
‘Lee Harwood is a poet of floating translucent landscape (much of it out there, underwater, a distance we can’t quite reach). Some of the detail is as fine as the hairs on the back of our hands. Now we have individual and overlapping maps by fellow poets, critics, close-readers, to draw us in, reminding us of white spaces we must experience but never exhaust. A valuable document.’ —Iain Sinclair