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This landmark Collected Poems from one of Britain’s major post-war poets, gathers together work from over four decades, and includes previously unpublished material that has remained outside the scope of Chaloner’s major collections.
In drawing the book together, Chaloner has updated and revised poems into a thematic whole, a decision supported by the remarkable consistency of vision, inquiry and purpose in his work. What we have is a magnum opus, a chronological sweep through Britain’s dynamic and troubled reinvention from the Sixties to the present day extending his range from the intimate and local to the social and global. Chaloner’s personal battleground is the truth, but his writing is a triumph of poise and tone. His is primarily a poetry of sensibility, and we are accompanied rather than addressed, encouraged rather than admonished.
From the early ruralist poems of wry, intimate observation to the recent critical visions of the Twenty-first Century world, Chaloner’s focus remains undaunted, locating us in the here and now, with our eyes faced forward on to the future, a future we are all responsible for and into which we must all travel.
‘I think of David Chaloner as a poet of the real mainstream, steering well clear of all the marginal temptations from language-fixated monopolism to the dull chatter of cheap success. A poetry which draws its discourse from the central history of poetry in English by being an ever-new thing, the script of here and now by its very freshness, its constant and calm searching among vocabularies, and the authenticity of its meditations through and beyond the personal, image and abstract at play and in serious converse.
And always truth. Truth
Like morning hauled from darkness.’ —Peter Riley
‘This ingathering of work published over four decades comes none too soon and there’s not a page out of place. The section of uncollected early poems is a bonus. Chaloner’s long-term readers will need no reminder of his variousness and power to astonish; both they and those for whom this collection makes the earlier books available for the first time will be struck as well by the work’s core consistency manifested as an independent sensibility with the authority to take (or sometimes leave) the world on terms its own. Here then the everyday is not a simulacrum to be deplored since it is always already seen otherwise so that, in all their nonchalance and panache, these poems though sometimes dark remain unembittered. They present us with an unfamiliar world which may be ours and very likely is, and that’s their challenge.’ —Andrew Crozier
‘Chaloner's Collected, generously stocked as it is with love poems, family memoirs, occasional pieces and travel poems, contains more ‘doors and windows’ (to use Andrew Duncan’s phrase) than much experimental poetry. But this letting of the world into the work generates a surface tension which sharpens the edges of these elegant, moving, funny poems.’ —Signals Magazine