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Britain’s Best Kept Literary Secret lives in Brighton



  Posted on 30/04/2004

‘National treasure’ and respected Brighton poet, Lee Harwood, will hold the official launch of his Collected works during the Brighton Festival on May 16. A major event, this volume is the first career-spanning collection of Lee Harwood's work, and its publication is timed to coincide with the author's 65th birthday in June 2004. “Lee Harwood is one of Britain’s best poets and best kept secrets.” John Ashbery.

Lee Harwood was born in 1939 and has lived in Brighton since the 1960s. A poet of great integrity, he is an ordinary man that has done extraordinary things. He has travelled the world with his poetry and as an expert mountaineer, spends a lot of time climbing, once running down the face of Snowdon in knee deep snow ten minutes before doing a reading. For many years a post office clerk on Western Road, Lee has gone through many of the trials and tribulations of ordinary life, all of which surface in his poetry. Lee Harwood says “Brighton has been coming in and out of my work for the last 35 years, it’s the right place for this launch”.

This Collected will make all of Lee’s work over the last few decades available once again, including some hard-to-find material and some recent uncollected work. In a writing career that began in the early 1960s he has published over 20 volumes of poetry and prose, as well as translations of Tristan Tzara. His work has been widely anthologised and he is widely regarded as one of the finest poets working in England today. This Collected brings between a single set of covers all the work that he wishes to preserve and includes some recent unpublished work which shows that his talent remains undimmed. Organisers THE SOUTH are proud to honour him at this event, Chair John Davies, says “Lee Harwood is one of Britain’s national treasures and recognition of his lifetime achievement is long overdue”.

Celebrating Lee Harwood: Collected Poems is published by the Shearsman Press on May 14. The launch details are as follows:

SUNDAY MAY 16
8pm 40 YEARS IN THE MAKING £6 (£4)
LEE HARWOOD launches his Collected Poems from Shearsman Press
Nightingale Theatre Upstairs @ Grand Central Surrey Street Brighton

Praise for some of the collections included in Collected:

“There is a clarity and wonderment in his poems which never insist on our attention but with their gentleness, offhandedness and, no matter how strange or complex the subject matter, an eerie directness, a straight unembellished telling, that makes them penetrating, moving, sometimes unforgettable.” August Kleinzahler

“Harwood’s aim is to leave the text open, to enable his readers to participate in its creation of meaning, to force them to make connections between disparate fragments. This, combined with his eroticism and concern for the meaning of human relationships, makes for a poetry at once distanced and intimate, unique in British poetry.” Robert Sheppard, Times Literary Supplement

“Lee Harwood is one of the most resourceful and and entertaining of contemporary British poets. It is important that his work should reach as wide an audience as possible.” Peter Ackroyd

Harwood is one of the brightest talents on the poetry scene, and his spirited, intelligent work is always of interest. He has never compromised and has maintained a provocative tone and an assured but unobtrusive style” – Jim Burns, Tribune

“Harwood chose to celebrate the new vision of humanity. His poems were about love and human relationships, and he demanded a greater complexity of meaning from language and a greater participation from the reader” - Raymond Gardner, Manchester Guardian

“Walk outside with an open mind. Harwood’s there” - Peter Finch

THE SOUTH is an active literature network and promoter (based in Brighton) that supports writers, poets and communities in the south of England. We have an amazing week planned for the Festival which will inspire, entertain and impress you. Brendan Cleary with an evening of verbal vivacity to launch his new pamphlet Jackson, accompanied by amazing songstress Chassy and old friend of THE SOUTH and music master Phil Roberts. There’s Lee Harwood celebrating forty years of gifted writing with the launch of his major new collected works and the new talent from Faber & Faber. You can party with internationally irreverent magazine Ambit or hang out in a secret garden with Sussex poets collective Footwork. Plus Poets Cornered!, a special experimental cool music and poetry night and the first Brighton v Chichester Slam at our new Mouth Cabaret. More than enough to make your mouth water!

To coincide with their week of Brighton festival spoken word activities THE SOUTH launches MORE MOUTH DOWN SOUTH, an ongoing campaign to promote the value of children memorising poetry off by heart. We want children to discover that poetry can taste just as good as chocolate and can last much longer - for a whole lifetime in fact. The campaign also seeks to promote our region as a centre of excellence for live performance and active literature. Brighton is the hub of a creative axis that spans Sussex and the south of England. THE SOUTH believe we're just better at live literature than anywhere else and challenge the rest of the country to prove us wrong. MOUTH DOWN SOUTH also links with ongoing campaigns to give the disadvantaged more say. Call 07800 797760






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