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This article is taken from PN Review 163, Volume 31 Number 5, May - June 2005.

Black Mountain in England (2): Chris Torrance Ian Brinton

In the introductory note to the selection of Chris Torrance's work in Iain Sinclair's anthology Conductors of Chaos (Picador, 1996), he is recognised as 'the leading practitioner and exponent of 'open-field' writing in Wales - particularly through the scope and enterprise of his long poem The Magic Door, of which five books have already been published; others are being made ready for the press'. Some thirteen years earlier, Torrance had been interviewed by Glyn Pursglove for Poetry Wales, volume 19 no. 2, where he had referred to The Magic Door sequence:

On the title-page The Magic Door is described as a cycle, but it's not even just a cycle. Relevant here is the activity of physical bodies called precession: the notion that you can never again be in quite the same place again at the same time. I had a plan. Like all plans it had to be adapted, even abandoned at times. I've always felt that I had a Plan B as well, a sort of shuffle rhythm, with which I thought I could go off into what was one particular small field and work. I knew I'd have to get away from the main motif from time to time. Living here I was getting more and more deeply embroiled in the cycle of the seasons here, the cycles of vegetation and animate life.


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