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

How Radio Works 2: Tom Raworth - Time, Identity and Tradition John Muckle

2: sir philip in south america

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear she) might take some pleasure of my pain;
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know;
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
      I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain;
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburnt brain.
      But words came halting forth, wanting invention's stay;
Invention, nature's child, fled step-dame study's blows;
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
      Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite.
      'Fool,' said my muse to me, 'look in thy heart and write. '20

What could this sixteenth-century court poem possibly have to do with Tom Raworth's attempt to make a space for himself in English poetry by rejecting the immediate past, borrowing from American and European modernism, dedicating himself to a 'don't look back' attitude to what Kenneth Koch called 'the crusts' of literary tradition, hoping for social revolution and attempting to thrust forward into the future on the cutting edge of the moment of immediate consciousness?

The first sonnet of 'Astrophel and Stella' is traditionally read as a poem ...


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