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This interview is taken from Poetry Nation 1 Number 1, 1973.

A Conversation with Edgell Rickword Michael Schmidt and Alan Young

EDGELL RICKW0RD was born in Colchester, Essex, on 22 October, 1898. He joined the Artists Rifles in 1916, and saw active service as an officer with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was invalided out of the army after the Armistice, and was awarded the Military Cross.

His first book of poems (Behind the Eyes) appeared in 1921, and this was followed by Invocation to Angels (1928) and Twittingpan and Some Others (1981). His Collected Poems appeared in 1947.

He was Editor of the Calendar of Modern Letters (now reprinted by F. Cass and Co.) from 1925 to 1927, and he was Associate Editor of Left Review (also reprinted by F. Cass and Co.) from 1984 to 1988. He became Editor of Our Time from 1944 to 1947.

Mr Rickword is responsible for several books of criticism, including Rimbaud: The Boy and the Poet (first issued 1924) and two volumes of Scrutinies. He has also produced a number of translations of French studies.



WE BEGAN by asking him about his war-poems which, we suggested, were more like some of the poems of World War II than like those of Sassoon or Rosenberg.

Rickword: Yes, that's quite right. They were written after the end of hostilities, the end of anxiety, as far as one was able to see, of being again involved in fighting. One was reflecting on the experience rather than writing directly out ...


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