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J.H. Prynne | Bloodaxe Books

J.H. Prynne is Britain's leading late Modernist poet. His Poems (1982) collected all the work he wanted to keep in print, beginning with Kitchen Poems (1968). An expanded and updated version was published by Bloodaxe Books with Fremantle Arts Centre Press in 1999 as Poems. Four further collections were added to the second edition of Poems in 2005, followed by a further seven along with a group of uncollected poems to the third edition of Poems (2015).

Prynne has published a wide range of critical and academic prose, including works on Saussure, Wordsworth, Shakespeare. His essay on New Songs from a Jade Terrace, an anthology of early Chinese love poetry, was included in the second edition of the book from Penguin in 1982. He has written poetry in classical Chinese under the name Pu Ling-en. His 1969 collection The White Stones – central to his poetics – was reissued in 2016 by New York Review Books with an introduction by Peter Gizzi. An annotated, illustrated edition of his 1983 collection The Oval Window, edited by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge, was published by Bloodaxe in 2018.

The decade since Poems (2015) has been the most productive period of Prynne's life, with over thirty limited editions published between 2017 and 2023. To have added these to a fourth edition of Poems would have doubled the size of that volume. His Poems 2016–2024 – forthcoming in June 2024 – is therefore a separate, supplementary edition of his later work, including, except for minor corrections, the unchanged contents of 34 texts, from Each to Each (2017), written in 2016, to Hadn't Yet Bitten (2023), as well as the corrected 2023 text of At Raucous Purposeful (2022).

Prynne's most productive decade has also seen the publication of three prose works, Graft and Corruption: Shakespeare's Sonnet 15 (2015/2016), Apophthegms (2017) and Whitman and Truth (2022), along with editions of Prynne's correspondence with Charles Olson (2017) and Douglas Oliver (2022). His two-volume Collected Prose is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (New York). A seminal interview with Jeff Doven and Joshua Kotin, 'J.H. Prynne: The Arts of Poetry No.101', was published in Paris Review, 218 (Fall 2016).

Born in 1936, Prynne is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 2005 he retired from his posts teaching English Literature as a Lecturer and University Reader in English Poetry for the University of Cambridge and as Director of Studies in English for Gonville and Caius College; he retired as Librarian of the College in 2006.

Books by J.H. Prynne

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