This volume is a new annotated edition of J.H. Prynne's 1983 poem The Oval Window, making use of photographs taken by the poet at the time and place of composition, together with a substantial portfolio supplied by him of source and reference material. This source material includes political and economic news published during the period in early autumn 1983 when the poem was written, together with extracts from literature, Eastern and Western philosophy, optics, anatomy, computer programming language, and a considerable quantity of ancient Chinese poetry.
The edition has two commentary essays: the first primarily concerned with approaches to reading, including the use of search engines, and with the relations between different elements in the work, and the second with the topography and the critical antecedents of the poem. For ease of reading, a clean reading text is included as well as the annotated text.
The expanded third edition of Prynne's Poems (2015) was published by Bloodaxe in 2015.
J.H. Prynne is Britain's leading late Modernist poet. His Poems (1982) collected all the work he wanted to keep in print, beginning with Kitchen Poems (1968). An expanded and updated version was published by Bloodaxe Books with Fremantle Arts Centre Press in 1999 as Poems, with a second, expanded edition in 2005. The third edition of Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2015) includes the complete texts of his later work: Refuse Collection (2004), To Pollen (2006), Streak~~~Willing~~~Entourage~~~Artesian (2009), Sub Songs (2010), Kazoo Dreamboats; or, On What There Is (2011), and Al-Dente (2014), all previously uncollected or available in limited editions, as well as a group of previously unpublished poems. Prynne has published a wide range of critical and academic prose, including works on Saussure, Wordsworth, Shakespeare. His essay on New Songs from a Jade Terrace, an anthology of early Chinese love poetry, was included in the second edition of the book from Penguin 1982. He has written poetry in classical Chinese under the name Pu Ling-en. His 1969 collection The White Stones - central to his poetics - was reissued in 2016 by New York Review Books with an introduction by Peter Gizzi. An annotated, illustrated editon of his 1983 collection The Oval Window, edited by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge, is published by Bloodaxe in March 2018. Prynne is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 2005 he retired from his posts teaching English Literature as a Lecturer and University Reader in English Poetry for the University of Cambridge and as Director of Studies in English for Gonville and Caius College; he retired as Librarian of the College in 2006.