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This review is taken from PN Review 18, Volume 7 Number 4, March - April 1981.

THE MAN WHO WROTE THE BOOK: SOME RECENT WORK ON DAVID JONES Henry Summerfield, An Introductory Guide to the Anathemata and the Sleeping Lord Sequence of David Jones (Sono Nis Press) $10.00 Introducing David Jones Ed. John Matthias (Faber and Faber) £6.50 and £2.95
Colin Hughes, David Jones: The Man who was on the Field (David Jones Society) n.p.

David Jones - like Pound, like Olson, like Milton - is an immensely learned poet whose learning, often recondite and 'eccentric', is obviously and immediately present in his poems. Profoundly aware of this, and of the consequent need to open up 'unshared backgrounds' for his readers, he evolved a strategy of annotating himself, sometimes in great detail, which is itself an integral part of the texture of his poems and a vital quality in their experience. The Anathemata, in particular, is not merely, like The Waste Land, like some of the work of Marianne Moore and William Empson, a poem with notes, but a 'poem-with-notes', a work that, uniquely, demands, as it were, to be read simultaneously as prose and as poetry: poetic intuition, immediacy and intelligence glossed by scholarly discursiveness and speculation. The Anathemata is, one might think, one of the most thorough-going possible responses to Eliot's belief that a modern long poem must contain varying intensities of prose and poetry and that 'for us, anything that can be said as well in prose can be said better in prose'. David Jones's glosses to his own work - which were possibly inspired originally not by Eliot at all, but by Coleridge's glosses to The Ancient Mariner and Livingstone Lowes's explanation of the explanation - make explicit on almost every page of the poem.his sense of the poet as 'rememberer', as a 'servus servorum' who uncovers, preserves and hands on into the future, the central 'signs' of his own ...


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