Poetry Book Society Recommendation
G.F. Dutton (1924-2010) wrote austerely passionate poems which search and illuminate the world about us. They are as much explorations as his notable scientific work: both draw on one continuous spectrum of experience.
In Dutton’s diverse life and work, metaphor was as significant as the clearcut episodes which invoke it. From his windblasted vantage-point edging the Scottish Highlands, he explored mountain, sea, forest, industrial city, various arts and biomolecular research, publishing books on wildwater swimming, mountaineering and mountain gardening as well as three poetry collections and this retrospective. Numerous scientific publications add to this continuous spectrum of enquiry: an abundance he found multiplied, maybe unified, by being laid bare.
'Over a huge landscape – recognisably Scotland and its border of cold ocean – Dutton’s strong clean poems strike like shafts of light through rolling clouds. They are illuminations. Each poem exists in an enormous perspective of time…He stands alone in a new rank of an old tradition. I think he is one of the finest poets of our time’ – Anne Stevenson
'A poet of genuine accomplishment…Characteristically clipped and sure-footed, Dutton delights in bare beauties, whether those of a Scandinavian-seeming Scottish landscape or of urban towerblocks…These poems are hardy, like the things they describe' – Robert Crawford, Verse
'Dutton's poems are austere, full of hard sayings and casting a hard light; they are strong and clean: the ability to move between the details of sensual experience within the enormity of his central themes bespeaks a poet who declares his humanity with every poem. He is a very fine poet indeed' – Bradley Franks, Scottish Literary Journal