The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

GALLAGHER, Tess ( 1932-), was born in Port Angeles, Washington. she was taught creative writing by Theodore ★Roethke at the University of Washington. and the poems of Sapping Outside ( Lisbon, Iowa, 1974) and Instructions to the Double (Port Townsend. Wash., 1976) combine Roethke's verbal exuberance with his metaphysical inclinations, but without at all trying to imitate his style or manner. The poems about 'doubles', which may mean, for the author, either 'reflections' or 'things with which I identify', are often interesting but, with a few exceptions, confused. Her third husband, Raymond ★Carver, died in 1988. Willingly (Port Townsend. 1984) consists of poems about and to Carver. and lovingly mirror his style and approach to life, although they lack his subtle touch. Gallagher's avowed methods, to write poems resembling the little prayers she sent out as a child, for fish to bite, may irritate some as too fey; but of those practising such methods she is perhaps paramount. See Amplitude: New and Selected Poems ( St Paul, 1987).

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GARDNER Isabella (Stewart) ( 1915-81]), was born in Newton, Massachusetts, daughter of an investment banker. After attending private schools, she studied drama, first in East Hampton, New York, and then in London. She was a professional actress from 1939 to 1942. Her first poetry collection did not appear until 1955, when she was 40. From 1950 to 1956 she was associate editor of Poetry magazine in Chicago. The last of four marriages was to poet-critic Allen ★Tate, who was in residence at the University of Minnesota. After divorcing Tate, Gardner made her home in Ojai, California, and later in New York City, where she died. A slow, often blocked writer, Gardner produced four collections in her lifetime. Her lyrics are admired for their spontaneity of voice, playfulness and economy of language, and formal accomplishment. Her best poems, like 'The Widow's Yard', deal with personal relationships and the failure of love. The fullest edition of Gardner poetry is Isabella Gardner:. The Collected Poems ( Brockpon, NY, 1990). It includes all previously collected poems as well as thirty unpublished or uncollected.

[ RSP

GARFITT, Roger ( 1944-), was born in Melksham, Wiltshire, and educated at Merton College, Oxford. He edited Poetry Review, 1978-81 and was poetry reviewer for the London Magazine, 1973-6.

Landscape is the centre of Garfitt's work. He is both a meticulous re-creator of, for example, the effects of light, and a sociable poet who sees place as expressive of its inhabitants. His most recent collection, Given, Ground ( Manchester, 1989), concentrates on the unsung lives of the many whom official history excludes ( 'Hares Boxing', 'Lover Lumb Mill') and extends into the mythological ( 'The Hooded Gods' are three unnamed household deities). The minuteness of his attention is often rewarding. Clearly socialist in outlook, and combining formality with freer verse, Garfitt is an intriguing counterpart to the more public work of Douglas ★Dunn and Tony ★Harrison.

His collectiona are: Caught on Blue ( Oxford, 1970); West of Elm (Cheadle, Cheshire, 1974); The Broken Road ( Newcastle upon Tyne, 1982);

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