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This report is taken from PN Review 182, Volume 34 Number 6, July - August 2008.

Andrew Crozier: An Appreciation Peter Riley

When the history takes over from the noise, Andrew Crozier, who died in April at the age of 64, will surely be recognised as a definitive force in British poetry of the later twentieth century. Poet, teacher, editor, publisher and critic, he filled each of these functions with exemplary fastidiousness and sense of purpose, for he was one of those perhaps rare practitioners who actually has a clear sense of what constitutes the poetical enterprise and so what is best done with it, which he developed through assiduous study and meticulous attention. Indeed attention was what distinguished his entire spirit in poetry or prose: close, scrupulous, ruthless and honest attention, to experience, to language, to the earth, and to mankind's condition of being.

His criticism, which is unfortunately still scattered in periodicals and collections, is unusually perceptive. It is also full of conviction, but a conviction that results from thoroughness and careful attention rather than from a prior programme. You can feel assured that he would never write a word about anything without first acquiring an exhaustive knowledge of the subject and its circumstances. The main concern was historical, the route of poetical linguistic perception into the present tense, partly through attention to American poets such as George Oppen and Carl Rakosi who channelled a Poundian aesthetic away from Pound's hieratic Platonism towards a leftist direct validation of experience in the individual's encounter with particulars. When he turned to British poetry his main concern, unfortunately never published ...


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