A master of song poems which celebrate—and incarnate—the music of nature and history, love and mythology, religion and language, Basil Bunting (1900-1985) was a major figure in Modernist poetry, recognized by Pound and Zukofsky as early as the 1930s, and crowned, with the 1966 publication of his masterpiece “Briggflatts,” Britain's greatest poet. The poet himself called his great epic poem “old wives' chatter, cottage wisdom,” but for many writers “Briggflatts” is one of the dozen great poems of the 20th century: as Cyril Connolly put it, “the finest long poem to have been published in England since T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets.”
As well as “Briggflatts” (long out of print in the US, and now only available in this edition), this new Complete Poems includes Bunting's other great sonatas, most notably Villon (1925) and The Spoils (1951), along with his two books of Odes, his vividly realized “Overdrafts” (as he called his free translations of Horace, Rudaki, and others), and his brilliantly condensed Japanese adaptation, Chomei at Toyama (1932). It also includes his posthumous Uncollected Poems. This centenary edition has an introduction by Richard Caddel, Director of the Basil Bunting Poetry Center at Durham University.