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This article is taken from PN Review 147, Volume 29 Number 1, September - October 2002.

'I have written other poems, you know': T.S. Eliot in correspondence with F.T. Prince Anthony Rudolf

'I have written other poems, you know'


Two poets, believe it or not, began their readings at the old Poetry Society in Earls Court Square with the plaintive words that serve as the title for my introduction to this small gathering of articles published for F.T. Prince's ninetieth birthday on 13 September 2002. I know, because I was present at both readings. Perhaps the two best known English-language poems of the Second World War, 'Soldiers Bathing' and 'Naming of Parts' are in every anthology, and deservedly so. But F.T. Prince and Henry Reed have indeed written 'other poems'. On this occasion, however, we won't be celebrating the late Henry Reed (1914-1986), for today we have naming of Prince, whose lifelong oeuvre is, in the words of the psalmist, full of 'signs and wonders'.

Anthony Howell and I, over a drink one evening in the spring of 2001, found ourselves talking about F.T. Prince, a poet whose work we both admire without reservation. We remembered that his ninetieth birthday was not far off and agreed that a celebration of his work would be appropriate. So we approached Prince's latest publisher, Michael Schmidt, who immediately offered to host the celebration in PNR. We drew up a list of poets we knew or suspected were admirers, and would consider joining us in writing about his work. In the end, Mark Ford, John Hall and Geoffrey Hill came through, and John Ashbery gave ...

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