Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Selected Peter Porter

Peter Porter's death in April has left a gap in the London and British poetry scene. Anthony Thwaite, who first met him in 1957, has described Porter as "One of the finest poets of our time." Porter was born in 1929 in Australia, and was unable to attend University for financial reasons. He came to London in 1951, and first worked at odd jobs. When hired by an advertising agency he came into contact with William Trevor, Gavin Ewart, Edwin Brock and Peter Redgrove. Shortly thereafter, he began to associate with poets in The Group. His first poems were published in 1957, and his first collection of poems in 1961. He left advertising in 1968, and worked freelance as poetry critic for the Observer, while also contributing to the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement. He was awarded the Queen's gold medal for poetry in 2002, and the C. Lit. from the Royal Society of Literature in 2006. His collections include:
Once Bitten, Twice Bitten (1961)
Poems Ancient and Modern (1963)
The Last of England (1970)
Preaching to the Converted (1972)
Living in a Calm Country (1978)
The Cost of Seriousness (1978)
Collected Poems 1961-1983 (1983)
Fast Forward (1984)
The Automatic Oracle (1987)
Mars (1988)
Possible Worlds (1989)
The Chair of Babel (1992)
Millennial Fables (1994)
Dragons in their Pleasant Palaces (1997)
Both Ends Against the Middle (1999)
Collected Poems 1961-1999 (1999)
Max is Missing (2001)
Saving from the Wreck (2001)
Afterburner (2004)
Better than God (2009)
The Rest on the Flight, Selected Poems (2010)
Sean O'Brien has chosen poems from nineteen books to compose The Rest on the Flight (2010).
The Poetry Archive ( features Porter reading his work.

A Celebration of Peter Porter, Sean O'Brien, Don Paterson, and Fiona Sampson with Anthony Thwaite at the Royal Society of Literature, with on-line recording (December 13, 2010).
Boyd Tonkin, "The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems, By Peter Porter," Independent (July 16, 2010).
Anthony Thwaite, "Peter Porter: Poet celebrated as among the finest of the second half of the 20th century," Independent (April 24, 2010).
Robert Potts, "Peter Porter obituary," Guardian (April 23, 2010).
"Peter Porter," Telegraph (April 23, 2010).
Peter Porter, "Two Poems," Jacket 16 (March 2002): "Rimbaud's Ostrich," "Rimbaud at Charleville"