Rebuilding the Juveniliad
A personal archaeology of the 1970s
In 2007, with the assembling of the book Mid Life, and following a couple of queries, I faced the question as to what, if anything, I should do about my poetry pre-Continual Song, that is, up to about 1980, when I was already in my thirties. Was I trying to suppress that stuff? No, but some of it embarrassed me----I had changed my mind about certain things. Or yes, I had half a mind to be rid of it. But again no: I could see in it certain qualities unknown elsewhere in English Poetry, and that may be the best justification for poetry that I know: a quality of uniqueness.
The state of things is this. I have no original manuscripts or typescripts. This is a matter of my writing process: Everything gets recycled and transformed. Well-worked waste feeds the burner in the hearth. What I have is what has been published, in magazines, pamphlets, books, and some of this I have destroyed in fits of self-destructive pique. I thought I might try to do something with what there is.
My first idea was to put some or all of it up on this site in, as close as possible, its original form, as though I were editing faithfully someone else's work. Then I thought I might modify lineation and punctuation in accordance with my later ideas. Thirdly, I thought I could try what I've tried before, and make new work out of the old. I was trying this through the latter part of 2007, and then felt I'd failed: whatever its faults, I preferred the earlier, printed work.
I revert to my first idea. What follows is a schedule or programme that may, in good time, be filled. A sympathetic editor presents the work of a young poet who was perhaps not God's gift to poetry, but was, possibly, 'promising'. The editor is not the one to judge whether the promise was fulfilled, for he is too involved. I feel it's something that could be posted in an obscure corner of a not-so-popular website. I have only one life, after all. So here is the schedule.
odd magazine publications 1970-75
all blue chickens go to goodgold (Turpin 1973) (though I may include this in my next new book)
various ragged fringes (Turpin 1975) (in several web-pages)
salvage from the wreck of the Mabinogion
project (The Children of/ We Came This Way Before) and other things,
from various sources, (later 1970's) (again, in several pages). Two of these are:
Son of The Wave
One Magpie, for John Riley (from for John Riley, Grosseteste 1979)
and, possibly, some post-1980 offshoots
Here I might note some things I recall that I've lost. Diligent research might locate some texts somewhere, but I lack enthusiasm for the job. These include Uncompleted Movements (Odense 1971); Melanie, Melanie Klein, Melanie, Melanie Klein (an aborted 1970's book); The Fair Set in The Green (Great Works 1976); the second branch and part of the fourth branch, and a long poem drawn from Macsen Wledig, from among the Mabinogion wrecks.
Time will tell whether I complete this schedule, faithfully.