Basil Bunting was one of the most important British poets of the 20th century. Acknowledged since the s as a major figure in Modernist poetry, first by Pound. Briggflatts by Basil Bunting is one of the great poems of the twentieth century, though it has not always occupied a central place in discussions. Basil Bunting’s poem “Briggflatts” has been hailed as the successor to Ezra Pound’s “Cantos” and T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” Bunting himself.

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No one here bolts the door, love is so sore. The following brief guide should hopefully provide a good foundation for first-time readers. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Fingers ache on the rubbing stone. By such rocks men killed Bloodaxe. My own comments will be far fewer than even five stanzas from this extraordinary and beautiful poem deserve. Views Read Edit View history.


Order by newest oldest recommendations. Stone smooth as skin, cold as the dead they load on a low lorry by night. However, there is still the nagging sense of tragedy that has persisted throughout Briggflatts.

Dance tiptoe, bull, black against may. Thanks for sharing this information with us. The solemn mallet says: This video features four short extracts of Basil Bunting reading from his long poem Briggflatts not in orderfrom Peter Bell’s film portrait of Bunting, included on a DVD issued with the new Bloodaxe edition of Briggflatts which also has a CD of an audio recording Bunting made of the whole of Britgflatts in What exactly happens to Alexander on the mountain? Poetry lies dead on the page until some voice brings it to life, just as music on the stave, is no more than instructions to the player.


Part 1 is the most immediate and tightly structured in the poem.

Bunting immediately takes us into the soundscape in their heads, and makes us hear all the small, complex interactions of horses and cartwheels.

It’s very helpful for us. Rain stops, sacks steam in the sun, they sit up.

This page was last edited on 8 Mayat Aside from its musical properties, part 4 is also notable for its elegiac subjects. Briggfaltts, that is not quite the whole story; there is also a definite realist narrative here.

The bull will re-appear later, when Bunting recalls the legend of Pasiphae. In one sense, this is pure sound evoking a pastoral idyll and it should be enjoyed as such: Part 1 is therefore the beginning of a process of remembering real things, literally the buntiing chapter in an autobiography. Another factor, the poem’s supposed difficulty, requires some qualification. In line with the moral of BriggflattsCuthbert was a quiet hero living on the margins of society who loved nature without seeking to control it.

The first part has a regular structure of 12 stanzas each containing 13 lines. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. The opening passages of the section briggflatst greedy, powerful people who obstruct creativity and make life a literal shitty nightmare.

Briggflatts – Part I Poem by Basil Bunting – Poem Hunter Comments

Meanwhile, the labour of the mason goes on, a two-stanza ostinato-bass of tapping and sanding and getting the memorial-work done. As a teacher of undergraduate students over the last few years, I have found that Part 1 in particular lends itself very well to group reading and seminar discussion: The Coda is a fragment composed prior to the rest of the poem, which Bunting rediscovered and welded on at the last minute.

If part 4 was mostly tragic notes with a brief major-key interlude, part 5 is the opposite. The reasons for this are complex, and have to do with a range of contentious biographical and historical factors such as the marginal status of modernism in the UK and Bunting’s own variable reputation.


Briggflatts – Part I – Poem by Basil Bunting

A skilled musician can imagine the sound, more or less, and a skilled reader can try to hear, mentally, what his eyes see in print: Speaking of letters, try and listen to one of the online recordings of Bunting himself reciting, and note how audibly ubnting pronounces the letter R, wherever in a word it may occur.

Tongue stumbles, ears err for fear of spring.

Notes on Free Verse”. It was first read in public on 22 December at the Morden Towerand published in by Fulcrum Press.

Basil Bunting

The section is based on an episode from the medieval Persian epic poem Shahnameh, which includes a portrayal of the Greek leader Alexander the Great BC.

It begins with allusions to the sixth-century poet Aneirin the correct spellingwhose most famous work Y Gododdin describes the Battle of Catterick and its aftermath in North Yorkshire around AD. So the poem begins with an incantation, evoking youthful sexual energy and copiousness. Mark Rudman suggests that “Briggflatts” is an example of how free verse can be seen as an advance on traditional metrical poetry.

Virtuoso of the verb and grand-master of the preposition, he rarely wastes time on an adverb, but is more liberal with exact and sensuous adjectives.

English poems United Kingdom poem stubs. Tellingly, the poem ends with a question mark this is a work of literature that proclaims its own uncertainty and inability to conquer the world with language.