ACIS Logo It isn’t race or nation governs movement: New Writers’ Press and the British Poetry Revival

This paper will blend archival research and close comparative literary analyses in order to repatriate the somewhat marginalised Dublin-based small poetry press, New Writers’ Press (NWP), within the wider critical context of transnational experimental poetry publication of the 1960s and ’70s. Through a tripartite structure, broadly, a contextualisation of NWP within its socioeconomic moment, an assessment of various interactions between NWP and other experimentalist publishing operations on foreign shores, and comparative close-readings of NWP-published works alongside roughly concurrent works from Britain‚ this study will problematise NWP’s fringe status in contemporary critical narratives of experimental poetry of the 1960s and ’70s. It is telling, for instance, that critical studies such as Thurston and Alderman’s Reading Postwar British and Irish Poetry (2013) reserve only one cursory sentence for NWP; even more tellingly, NWP does not receive a single mention throughout the 761 pages of The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). The aim of this paper is to argue that such omissions become egregious when the critical lens is shifted from material facts of production and circulation to comparisons of the actual poetries themselves being published by NWP and concurrent British operations. While the former half of the paper will use archival revelations to exemplify the at times diaphanous degrees of separation between NWP and similar and simultaneous British operations, the latter half will trace distinct poetic resonances between NWP poets (Trevor Joyce, Geoffrey Squires) and British experimentalists (J.H. Prynne, Andrew Crozier); resonances which transcend the geographical and critical impediments that render NWP relatively isolated from the community of its British contemporaries in scholarship today.

Published on: April 20, 2020