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This review is taken from PN Review 225, Volume 42 Number 1, September - October 2015.

O visionary... Nicholas Moore, Selected Poems Ed. John Lucas & Matthew Welton Shoestring Press (£14.99)

In Lucky Jim (1954) Professor Welch tries to pressure Amis’ unmusical hero ‘to stay for the P. Racine Fricker.’ It is a reference that would have been readily picked up by the readers at the time, but surely has baffled many readers since. In the England of the early 1950s Peter Racine Fricker was widely seen as one of England’s leading young composers of the day, and mentioned in the same breath as his contemporary Benjamin Britten. His day was to be a short one, however: within a few years he and his music were forgotten. The man lived on, his reputation didn’t.

In the previous decade the fate of poet Nicholas Moore had been much the same. He was an inescapable presence on the literary scene, his work was fêted, and appeared in all the right journals both in Britain and America. He was compared with Dylan Thomas. The critic G. S. Fraser unwisely declared that Moore’s mind was more interesting than Blake’s. The forties was a time for him of hectic poetic production with some ten collections in the course of the decade, but in the austere fifties he was to find his fame vanished and his work unpublishable. Even in Robin Skelton’s anthology Poetry of the Forties (1968) he is represented only by a single poem. His later years were marked by a number of personal tragedies: desertion by his wife, failure of a gardening venture, loss of a limb through gangrene, confinement to a wheelchair, and failing eyesight. He continued to write: ...


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