Sunday 2 June 2013

The Greatest English Poet You Haven’t Heard Of?


Daniel Westover takes a stab:
In my estimation, the most neglected “great” poet of the twentieth century is Lynette Roberts (1909-1995), a wonderful, difficult poet who was born in Argentina to parents of Welsh extraction, moved to London as a Spanish-speaking child, and lived in Wales as an adult. Her work was championed by Edith Sitwell and Dylan Thomas, who was best man at her wedding. T. S. Eliot thought she was a tremendous writer, and he published both of her volumes at Faber. Wyndham Lewis (of BLAST fame) championed her work and sketched [the above] image of her. Like the work of most Modernist poets with experimental inclinations, Roberts’s work is uneven, but in the words of Robert Graves, who called her “one of the few true poets now writing,” “her best is the best.”
Patrick McGuinness, who has done yeoman's work in bringing Roberts' opus back into the light, calls her poetry "radically modern, almost futuristic":
Roberts's work stands out for its originality of conception, its bold and experimental use of language, and for its conviction that the present is as dramatic, extreme and finally as heroic as anything to be found in the world of myth and legend.
Ange Mlinko has written a cantata for her.

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