|Andrew Moore: Selected Poems - comments|
Comments on the poems
On this page you will find some comments which various readers and critics have made about the poems on this site.
From Ted Hughes, commenting on a selection of poems; 3 June, 1976Court Green
Dear Andrew Moore,
Robert showed me the copies of your poems. They seem to me exceedingly skillful (sic.) and eloquent. I trust you will forgive me if I say that, even so, they conceal your real poetry - the poetry you will probably be trying to write in 5 years' time. So I think they demonstrate your total success in absorbing the formal tradition of English verse & your natural facility, your bent for language games etc. & a real talent for locating a poem & developing a free meditation.
But the relationship to your real poetry is - to note one easily-seen comparison - the same as that between the early poems of Eliot's (sic.) & what quite suddenly emerged from them in Prufrock. Something totally different. There was no slow transition. One simply overlaid the other.
I say this, because everywhere in your poems I sense a strong poetic charge which is - somehow - held at a distance. Its presence is evenly diffused over the entire surface, without ever actually emerging in the naked concentration of the thing itself.
That is O.K. Whole centuries of poetry were produced in that manner, & for some forms of writing it is still obviously the best; the most useful. But I suppose you will not remain satisfied with it.
These are general remarks. My response to your poems was very positive - but baffled. With the poems of many young writers it is a question whether they have any poetic talent at all or whether they are skilled enough writers or whether they know enough. With you it seems to me no question that you have the advantage in all these things. The question, rather, is wehther you will get closer to your poetic experience, & fasten onto its nakedness, reveal it in its own terms. Because if you do not do that, of course, you will lose contact with it alltogether (sic.) & become the plaything of your very flexible intelligence & verbal skill. But for you to have got so far by the age of 20, suggests to me you are on your way somewhere very interesting.
If you would like to see a facsimile of Mr. Hughes' original letter, click on the links below.
On United States I from Janet R. Lovely, in Poetry Monthly, March 1999
I admire United States I for tackling the formidable task of attempting to translate the sexual body. I know...that this is a supremely self-conscious thing to do and that structure and syntax are massively important in conveying corporeality. In tone his poem reminded me of John Donne, particularly The Sunne Rising and The Extasie because of its strong sense of sexually induced alchemy. The rigorous structure works well, as its presence allows reader and writer to imagine that they have temporarily grasped the ungraspable reality of physical desire, and thereby explore it a little. The title's conundrum is fascinating, not least because it conveys the problematic and ubiquitous notion of the body as a geography. Sensation as transaction in "tactile rites of love" was equally fascinating. I would hesitantly question whether the piece is decidedly male in its quest for figurative and structural climax, and would be interested to hear the writer's views on this!
Janet R. Lovely,
On United States II from Paul Grainger, in Poetry Monthly, October 1998
Once in a while I am confronted by a poem that catches my imagination to such an extent that I cannot let it go. United States II is the latest example: Andrew Moore has, for my money, written a masterpiece.
I admire his choice of words, the technical dexterity he demonstrates with them, the hypnotic effect they produce and finally his control. The theme and the ideas he has attached to it maintain their momentum from start to finish. The result was, for me, a pleasure to read: I savoured every word.
But having said all that I am still left with two regrets: 1. That I didn't write [the poem] myself and 2. That it didn't appear as the last, rather than the first piece in Issue 30, because its influence deprived the other poems of my full attention.
On Beneath Your Station from Sam Smith, in Poetry Monthly, October 1999
And lucky you [Martin Holroyd, the editor of Poetry Monthly] to be able to include Andrew Moore's exemplary piece of contemporary rhyme Beneath Your Station. See, latter-day users of inversions and archaisms, it can be done! And Andrew Moore brought it off with sleight-of-hand panache. Larkin would have been proud of him. More of the same, please.
The copyright in all of the poems on this site belongs to Andrew Moore;