Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Alistair Noon's review of Gael Turnbull's Collected is now up on Litter. Turnbull is a good example of how a good, perhaps great, poet, can slip through the net. He's from the same mould as Roy Fisher and Charles Tomlinson; indeed, regarded by both as a mentor and trailblazer, but was less well-known than either during his lifetime. In fact, his work, until recently, was unknown outside samizdat circles, despite the 'accessibility' of much of it. I'm not sure why this is - maybe he was too various a writer to fit into a marketing or academic category. Maybe he confused people by living in more than one country, or offended them by taking an interest in American and French poetry. Whatever the reasons for Turnbull's lack of visibilty, his career certainly proves that writing very good poetry is no guarantee of recognition.