Slakki is Old Norse for a shallow depression among hills: 'Not much of a valley. A Slack,' writes Roy Fisher, with typical self effacement. But appearances are deceptive where this Slakki is concerned. Opening with new poems written during his 80s - since his Costa-shortlisted collection Standard Midland (2010) - the book's second section is a gathering of uncollected poems mainly written during the 1960s, though occasionally foreshadowed later in the previous decade, while the third part contains poems, similarly uncollected, written in the 1950s. 'I describe the poems in sections two and three of this book as neglected,' Roy Fisher writes in an afterword. 'I must emphasise that these poems have not been passed over or slighted by publishers, editors or reviewers: indeed my work always seems to me to have had as much attention as it deserved or was likely to get. The neglect has been entirely mine.' Fisher's Collected Poems 1968 from Fulcrum was a carefully constructed volume whose cut down selection was carried over into later retrospectives: 'The cut material was left to lie more or less unexamined again until now.That turn of events furnishes the majority of the neglected items in the present volume.
There's an element of what could better be called habitual negligence that also has a bearing.' Peter Robinson produced and ordered the texts of Slakki in response to instructions and advice from Roy Fisher. Derek Slade contributed substantially to composing the notes on sources and earlier appearances of the works gathered here.
Roy Fisher has published over 30 poetry books, and has been the subject of numerous critical essays and several studies, including The Thing About Roy Fisher: Critical Essays on the Poetry of Roy Fisher, edited by Peter Robinson and John Kerrigan (Liverpool University Press, 2000), and of The Unofficial Roy Fisher, edited by Peter Robinson (Shearsman Books, 2010). He has published four books with Bloodaxe. The Dow Low Drop: New & Selected Poems (1996) was superseded by his later retrospective, The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 (2005), and followed by his most recent collection, Standard Midland (2010), published on his 80th birthday, which was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. An expanded edition, The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2010 - including Standard Midland - was published in 2012. His first US Selected Poems, edited by August Kleinzahler, was published by Flood Editions in 2011. His latest book, Slakki: New & Neglected Poems, is published by Bloodaxe in 2016. Born in 1930 in Handsworth, Birmingham, he retired as Senior Lecturer in American Studies from Keele University in 1982. He is a freelance writer and jazz musician, and lives in Derbyshire.