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This report is taken from PN Review 235, Volume 43 Number 5, May - June 2017.

Tom Raworth Miles Champion
TOM RAWORTH'S POETRY first found me in 1989, in Manchester – his contribution to Penguin Modern Poets 19 followed by the expanded 1988 edition of Tottering State. Soon after, I visited the Carcanet office, where I met and became friends with Michael Schmidt, who, a few years later, generously asked me to review Tom’s Eternal Sections for PN Review. I sent the review to Tom, not without a few butterflies in my stomach, and he promptly wrote back, remarking that it was refreshing to receive word from ‘outside’. He politely (and drily) suggested that I had perhaps overstated the extent to which he had been influenced by Olson.

Tom’s body of work is there for all to read, and will be so for as long as there are readers. It stands as the clearest and truest literary record of our time, as pure a transmission as it is possible for art to be, if it is to take form at all. That Tom was able to remain so open to the poetic signal, in all its guises, for sixty years, never failing to fashion what it gave him into writing of the highest order, is a benchmark creative act. The quality of the emotion – to use Pound’s phrase – couldn’t be finer, and, perhaps most remarkably of all, the profundity of the work is entirely matched by the modesty of its maker.

Tom enjoyed the road, travelling indefatigably and widely, with scant regard for conventional maps. The areas defined by the scattered dots of ...
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