ReadySteadyBlog

Tomorrow, Carcanet will host a lunchtime event to celebrate the publication of The Shepherd's Calendar by John Clare, from 1-2pm at Manchester Central Library:


For the first time in nearly 180 years, this is a book that presents, side by side, two major versions of one of John Clare's most celebrated poems, The Shepherd's Calendar. The final manuscripts of the poem that Clare composed are placed against the published version in a parallel text; and some fascinating poetic differences, as well as similarities, between the two versions emerge. These changes and continuities are examined in a challenging introduction that charts the development of the poem, and that explores the imaginative strengths of both versions, as well as their limitations. The presentation of this material is enhanced by a series of beautiful woodcuts by Carry Akroyd, evoking the natural and human landscapes about which Clare wrote.

The event will include a talk by the book's editor, Tim Chilcott, a renowned Clare expert, readings of Clare's poems and a display of artwork by Carry Akroyd, who illustrated the book. Carry will also discuss her artistic interpretations of Clare's poetry.

Readers Comments

  1. Well, he'd better watch it. The litigious Eric Robinson might turn up and threaten to claim breach of copyright. Robinson, you'll remember, 'owns' all the poems that Clare wrote apart from those that were published in his own lifetime. 'The Shepherd's Calendar' was published but if this new edition is using unpublished material then Robinson might make his claim. He's tried it on before and some have succumbed and paid up. Others have resisted and told him to go stuff himself (in very polite terms of course) and I don't think he's successfully won a case where he was resisted but I may be wrong on that. However or whichever way it's told, it's yet another example of 'scholars' taking possession of art for their own aggrandisement. Sickening creeps. Has the recently discovered Shelley poem seen the light of day yet? No. Has it been seen by scholars? Yes. Where's the poem? Sitting in a vault at the booksellers, where it's been since the summer. Oh donchya luv the great freedoms of the republic of letters?

  2. I''ve been googling away furiously this morning and see that Eric Robinson, the self-appointed owner of Clare's unpublished works has published nine volumes of his poetry with Oxford. What I can't work out exactly is whether this constitutes the whole opus of all his poetry or not. Or are there hundreds of poems still sitting somewhere that Robinson 'owns' or has he genuinely delivered up the lot? I guess if it was the latter, I might mellow my opinion slightly other than that it's taken him so long to 'let' us see them, that people have died waiting. I've got some of his vols (in storage at the mo, so I can't lay my hands on them) and they're great but I for one gave up waiting and bought the Carcanet selections (eg 'The Northborough Sonnets') whilst waiting. Someone please enlighten?

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