THE CITIZEN and the making of City edited by Peter Robinson (Bloodaxe Books)

Tears in the Fence

Roy Fisher’sCitywas one of the first poetry books I remember reading as a teenager (others would beCrow, andThe Waste Land, as well as Adrian Mitchell’s and Brian Patten’s work). My friend the poet Brian Louis Pearce lent me his 1961 Migrant Press copy to encourage me to use the actual world around me in my poetry; around the same time a school friend showed me Edwin Morgan’sInstamataticPoems. Both books were full of physical description, mood, history, clearsighted observation, and what we might now call psychogeography: the feel and mood of a place, dependent upon its history and use. Both felt quite distanced and disengaged from their subjects yet were involving and innovative reads.

Whilst I knew that Fisher had revisedCityfor future editions, I was unaware – like many others, I am sure – that it had been assembled from…

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