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This review is taken from PN Review 24, Volume 8 Number 4, March - April 1982.

TRISTIA AND THE ENGLISH PROVINCES The New Russian Poets 1953-68, an anthology edited by George Reavey (Marion Boyars) £4.95
Homage to Mandelstam, ed. Richard Burns and George Gomori (Los Poetry) £2.50
Adam's Dream, Poems from Cumbria and Lakeland, ed. William Scammell and Rodney Pybus (Cumbria Literature) £1.50
Poetry South East 6, ed. Patric Dickinson (South East Arts) £1.20
The Music of What Happens, Poems from The Listener 1965-80, ed. Derwent May (BBC) £3.95

How new is 'new'? George Reavey's The New Russian Poets offers the date 1953-68 on the cover; inside it more modestly claims 1953-1966, and no individual poem is dated later than 1965. The reason is not far to seek- the book is a simple reprint of one originally brought out in 1968, and as glaring an example of publisher's laziness as one could hope to find. It's not the texts that worry one- though for many of the younger poets a far wider, more representative and genuinely 'new' selection is available elsewhere- what gives one pause is that anyone new to the subject (and the book is clearly meant as an introduction; it usually plumps for the the best-known poems of any given writer's work) could well be misled by the inadequacy of the biographical notes. Galanskov is left as a dangling man under arrest in 1967 and nothing of his subsequent fate is mentioned; even more glaring is the case of Brodski- for all the uninformed reader knows he could still be in a labour-camp. Surely a note detailing the more recent careers of these two men would not have been outrageously expensive? This may seem carping- the poems are the thing after all- but the book devotes a great deal of space to biography and to the 'placing' of each author within his social and literary context (there is as much biography of Pasternak as poetry) and this is labour lost when it is out of date, ...


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