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This review is taken from PN Review 114, Volume 23 Number 4, March - April 1997.

GURNEY RESTORED IVOR GURNEY, Poems (Everyman's Poetry Edition) £1
 

All night the fierce wind blew -
All night I knew
Time, like a dark wind, blowing
All days, all lives, all memories
Down empty endless skies -
A blind wind, strowing
Bright leaves of life's torn tree
through blank eternity:'
Dreadfully swift, Time blew.
All night I knew
the outrush of its going.

At dawn a thin rain wept.
Worn out, I slept
And woke to a fair morning.
My days were amply long, and I
  content
In their accomplishment -
Lost the wind's warning.


'The Wind', so far as we know Ivor Gurney's last extant manuscript poem, dates from March 1929, and was written, as the notes to George Walter's painstakingly-researched and amended new Gurney selection for Everyman paperbacks reminds us, under one of Gurney's numerous pseudonyms: 'Valentine Fane'. (As a composer he had many: 'Michael Flood', 'H. Kenniston Wynne', 'H. Rippon Seymour' and 'Katerina Boganoff', to name but a handful of the aliases under which he turned out what he liked to term 'potboilers'.)

With Gurney's earliest experimental poetry now once more available (the 1917-9 war period collections Severn and Somme and War's Embers, Carcanet Midnag, £8.95), George Walter is concerned in this edition to emphasise other facets of the mature Gurney. While P.J. Kavanagh's centenary volume of Selected Poems (OUP 1990) both acknowledges those early collections and pays a ...


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