Chapter

Speaking To You

W. S. Graham

in Speaking to You

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199657001
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742194 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.003.0002
Speaking To You

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Chapter 1 focuses on the public nature of W. S. Graham's apparently personal and private uses of addresses to known recipients. Graham's you takes shape as it performs complex negotiations in the political-cultural fray. This chapter argues against those critics of Graham who have complained that his oeuvre is ‘essentially private’, and rethinks the idea that his verse is merely intellectually abstracted, trapped in ‘its own intoxication with language’.Graham's poems and letters are public spaces that co-opt addressees, emphasizing the politics of poetic patronage, even in personal addresses to friends: ‘But this, my boy, is the poem / You paid me five pounds for’. Poetry opens onto the flexible public sphere, an assertion of one's place in the world of writers, readers, artists, critics, reviewers, and publishers. Graham speaks to a host of such figures, including Robin Skelton, Bryan Wynter, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, and Edwin Morgan.

Keywords: public; address; W. S. Graham; poetry; you

Chapter.  12771 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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