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This report is taken from PN Review 174, Volume 33 Number 4, March - April 2007.

Archive Corner 3: Kathleen Raine, Barbara Hepworth, Stone and Flower Stella Halkyard

'[Un]elective Affinities': Kathleen Raine, Barbara Hepworth, Stone and Flower

In 1943 Kathleen Raine's first collection of poetry went to press. Stone and Flower: Poems 1935- 43 was published by Nicholson and Watson under the imprint Editions Poetry London by that 'ringmaster of the wartime poetical circus... [who] kept poetry in the limelight' and 'swallowed Bohemian London whole',1 James Meery Thurairajah Tambimuttu.

Editions Poetry London were issued as a non-commercial line in addition to the influential literary magazine Poetry London. As Tambimuttu edited both they shared a 'decided tone (and quality)...that showed an openness to diverse new talent'.2 As these titles suggest, a quintessentially metropolitan emphasis was maintained for, as Julian Maclaren-Ross quipped: 'in the Forties there was no nonsense about regionalism or Liverpool or Salford being the centre of the arts, London was the centre and that was bloody well that'.3

'Kathleen, you are a great poet,' Tambimuttu told Raine; 'I will publish your poems, it will be a beautiful book, you will see.' And true to his word, despite being castigated in some circles as the 'conman of literature... [whose] handling of business went beyond the outrageous',4 the volume Tambimuttu produced is indeed a beautiful book. Each poem luxuriates upon its page in a crisp serifed typeface with ample space to breathe within commodious margins. Any temptation to cramp their style by squeezing them top to tail, like figures in a Henry Moore ...


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