This first volume of "Selected Writings" by Richard Burns consists of longer poems written between 1965 and 2000, in Greece, Italy, England and Yugoslavia. While some poems, like "Avebury" and "Croft Woods", have their focal points in a recognizably ...
English landscape and consciousness, there is no insular limitation on the 'matter'. Burns has written: 'I would rather think of myself as a European poet who writes in English than as an 'English' poet'. The range and breadth of this ambitious collection confirm Burns' place in the European late modernist mainstream. The predominant concerns are love, vision and justice. Oppression is confronted and defeated. 'Eros' is celebrated. The voice of the Other is ever-present. Personal relations and integrities are affirmed. The keynote is magnanimity. The selection opens with "The Easter Rising 1967", a poem against dictatorship, written during the military takeover in Greece. Involvement with Greece resurfaces in "Black Light", a sequence dedicated to the memory of George Seferis. Also featured are poems set in former Yugoslavia, including "The Voice in the Garden" dedicated to Burns' friend Ivan V. Lalic. Other poems are rooted in family and filial relations ("May"), in Cabbalistic Judaism ("The Rose of Sharon", "Tree"), in Breton and Welsh tradition ("Ys"), in art ("Transformations", "Against the Day"), and in post-Holocaust consciousness and ecology ("Angels"). "For the Living" includes the award-winning poems "The Rose of Sharon" (Keats Memorial Prize) and "In Memory of George Seferis I" (Duncan Lawrie Prize), as well as a range of previously unpublished pieces. Notes provide dedications, dates and places of composition.