Peter Redgrove, who died in June 2003, was a friend and contemporary of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and became one of the most celebrated and prolific post-war poets - regarded by many as a true visionary.
The Harper, which gathers together his last poems, is a collection still charged with characteristic energy, eroticism and transforming imagination. Redgrove's language thrills with thunder, rain and electricity, the air heavy with perfumes and balsams, wasps and spiders - and reading these poems is uncannily like re-entering a dream. Peter Redgrove made us look at our world with fresh eyes, and he changed our perception forever.
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He is recognised today as one of the few poets capable of sustained rapture, a heirophant of alchemical mysteries, chronicler of sexual ecstasies, witness to sensual, synaesthetic delights beyond the reach of most of us -
Redgrove's strengths are a clairvoyant creativity, glittering images and glittering risk...wonderful imaginative leaps of seeing, glancing epiphanies...or sustained surrealities which etch the surprisingness of the world -
I would use the old-fashioned term 'genius' of Redgrove -
Peter Redgrove was born in 1932. Apart from producing over thirty full-length collections of poetry he also wrote novels, plays and non-fiction - including The Wise Wound with Penelope Shuttle. Among the many awards he has received are the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Prix Italia and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield, which holds an archive of the poet's papers. He died in 2003.