Raworth was born and grew up in London. He left school at the age of 16 and worked at a variety of jobs. In the early 1960s he started a magazine called Outburst in which he published a number of British and American poets including Ed Dorn, Allen Ginsberg and LeRoi Jones. He also founded Matrix Press at this time, publishing small books by Dorn, David Ball , Piero Heliczer de:Piero Heliczer and others.
In 1965,while working as an operator at the international telephone exchange, Raworth and Barry Hall set up Goliard Press (later Cape Goliard), which published, amongst others, Charles Olson's first British collection. These ventures into publishing made a major contribution to British interest to the new American poetry of the 1960s.
Development as a poetEdit
Raworth's first book, The Relation Ship, was published in 1966. Donald Davie admired the book and encouraged Raworth to resume his formal education. Raworth studied Spanish for a year and then translated the work of Vicente Huidobro and other Latin American poets for his M.A..
In the 1970s, he worked in the United States and Mexico, first teaching in universities in Ohio, Chicago and Texas, and later living in San Francisco where he was involved with the Zephyrus Image press. After six years abroad he returned with his family to England in 1977 to take up the post of resident poet in King's College, Cambridge for a year. He now lives in Brighton, Sussex.
Raworth's 650-page Collected Poems was published in 2003, though a number of major works remain uncollected, and a collection of prose Earn your Milk was published in 2009 which includes the uncategorizable long out-of-print A Serial Biography (1969), a uniquely vertiginous patchwork of autobiography and fiction.
Performance and collaborationEdit
Raworth gives regular readings of his work in Europe and the U.S.A. and most recently in China and Mexico. He has made a number of recordings and videos. His readings are noted for his speed of delivery. He has long been interested in collaborative work and has created performance events and texts in collaboration with musicians such as Steve Lacy, Joëlle Léandre, Giancarlo Locatelli, Peter Brötzmann and Steve Nelson-Raney; other poets, including Jim Koller, Anselm Hollo, Gregory Corso, Dario Villa and Franco Beltrametti; and painters including Joe Brainard, Jim Dine, Giovanni D'Agostino and Micaëla Henich. In 1991, he was the first European writer in 30 years to be invited to teach at the University of Cape Town and he has taught occasional semesters in the United States. He has also worked with his wife, Val Raworth.
Raworth lives in Brighton, England.
Raworth has strong Irish connections. His mother's family lived in the same house in Dublin as Sean O'Casey at the time that the playwright was working on Juno and the Paycock. In 1990, Raworth took out an Irish passport.
His early poetry showed the influences of the Black Mountain and New York School poets, particularly Robert Creeley and John Ashbery together with strands from European poetry (Apollinaire), Dada, and Surrealism. His 1974 book Ace saw Raworth move to a more disjunctive style, built from short, unpunctuated lines that entice the reader into following multiple syntactic possibilities, as they knit together everything from observations of the everyday to self-reflexive commentary on the acts of thinking and writing, to affectionate lifts from pulp fiction and film noir, to political satire. A series of long poems in this mode followed—after Ace came Writing (composed 1975-77; published 1982), Catacoustics (composed 1978-81; published 1991) and West Wind (composed 1982-83; published 1984). Subsequent projects have extended this mode into a kaleidoscopic sequence of 14-line poems (not exactly "sonnets") that extended through "Sentenced to Death" (in Visible Shivers, 1987), Eternal Sections (1993) and Survival (1994). Later collections include Clean & Well Lit (1996), Meadow (1999), Caller and Other Pieces (2007), Let Baby Fall (2008) and Windmills in Flames (2010).
Raworth's first collection, The Relation Ship (1966), won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize.
In 2007 he was awarded the Antonio Delfini Prize for lifetime achievement, in Modena, Italy.
Several boxes of Raworth's notebooks, typescripts, and correspondence (ca. 1968-1977) are held at the University of Connecticut's Dodd Research Center.
- Weapon Man (broadside). London: Goliard Press, 1965.
- The Relation Ship (illustrated by Barry Hall). London: Goliard Press, 1966.
- 2nd edition (different illustrations). London: Cape Goliard / New York: Grossman, 1969.
- Haiku (with John Esam and Anselm Hollo). London: Trigram Press, 1968.
- The Big Green Day (illustrated by Jim Dine). London: Trigram Press, 1968.
- Lion Lion (miscellaneous illustrations). London: Trigram Press, 1970.
- Moving (illustrated by Joe Brainard). London: Cape Goliard / New York: Grossman, 1971.
- Tracking (poems/notebook; cover by Fielding Dawson). Bowling Green, OH: Doones Press, 1972.
- Pleasant Butter (cover by Charles Simonds). Blue Pig Press, Paris & Northampton, USA: Blue Pig Press, 1972.
- Act (illustrated by Barry Flanagan). London: Trigram Press, 1973.
- Back to Nature (cover by Pip Benveniste. London: Joe DiMaggio, 1873.
- Ace (long poem; illustrated by Barry Hall. London: Goliard Press, 1974.
- 2nd edition (different illustrations). The Figures, Berkeley, USA.
- (including Bolivia... another end of Ace and all original illustrations). Washington, DC: Edge Books, 2001.
- Bolivia another end of Ace. London: Secret Books, 1974.
- Common Sense (illustrated by Michael Myers). San Francisco, CA: Zephyrus Image, 1975.
- The Mask (illustrated with masks found by Alastair Johnston). Berdeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1975.
- Sky Tails. Cambridge, UK: Lobby Press, 1978.
- Nicht Wahr, Rosie?. Berkeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1979.
- Writing (long poem). Berkeley, CA: The Figures, 1982.
- Levre de Poche (cover by the author). Durham, NC: Bull City Press, 1983.
- Heavy Light (cover by Lloyd Raworth). London: Actual Size Press, 1984.
- Tottering State: Selected and new poems, 1963-1984. Berkeley, CA: The Figures, 1984.
- revised & expanded (selected poems 1963-1987). London: Paladin Books, 1988.
- revised edition (containing complete text of Writing). Berkeley, CA: O Books, 2000.
- Lazy Left Hand (cover by Lloyd Raworth). London: Actual Size Press, 1986.
- Sentenced he gives a Shape.Tenerife, Spain: Zasterle Press, 1989.
- From Eternal Sections. Dublin: Hardpressed Poetry, 1990.
- Catacoustics (long poem; illustrations by the author). Cambridge, UK: Street Editions, 1991.
- All Fours (cover by the author). London: Microbrigade, 1991.
- The Vein. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1992.
- Blue Screen. Cambridge, UK: Equipage Press, 1992.
- Eternal Sections. Los Angeles, CA: Sun & Moon, 1993.
- Survival. Cambridge, UK: Equipage Press, 1994.
- Emptily. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1994.
- The Mosquito and the Moon. Cambridge, UK: 1994.
- Silent RowsGreat Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1995.
- Muted Hawks (illustrations by Alastair Johnston). Berkeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1995.
- Frames (poems: with Italian translation by Dario Villa; cover by Gianni Castagnoli; illustration by Franco Beltrametti:. Riva san Vitale, Switzerland: Giona Editions, 1995.
- Clean & Well Lit (selected poems 1987--1995). New York: Roof Books, 1996.
- "Firewall" (poem: in book Etruscan Reader V with works by Bill Griffiths and Tom Leonard). Devon, UK: Etruscan Books, 1996.
- Etruscan Reader V (Reprint of Firewall above, plus selection of early, out-of-print, poems). Devon, UK: Etruscan Books, 1998.
- Meadow. Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 1999.
- Landscaping the Future (poems: bilingual Italian/English). Loiana, Bologna, Italy: Porto dei Santi, 2000.
- Collected Poems. Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2003.
- Caller and Other Pieces. Washington DC: Edge Books, 2006.
- Let Baby Fall. Providence, RI: Critical Documents, 2008.
- Windmills in Flames. Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2010.
- 2011 Got On. UK: ©_© Press, 2011.
- A Serial Biography. London: Fulcrum Press, 1969.
- 2nd edition. Berkeley, CA: Turtle Island Foundation, 1977.
- Betrayal. London: Trigram Press, 1972.
- Logbook (illustrated by Frances Butler). Berkeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1977.
- Four Door Guide (poetry and prose; cover by Gerhardus Mercator; illustration by the author. Cambridge, UK: Street Editions, 1978.
- Tractor Parts (words/graphics; broadside). Peterborough, UK: Spectacular Diseases, 1985.
- Visible Shivers (poetry and prose; cover by Jean-Luc Guerin, illustrations by the author). Oakland, CA: O Books, 1987.
- Earn Your Milk: Collected prose. Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 2009.
Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy Tom Raworth..
Audio / videoEdit
- Little Trace Remains of Emmett Miller (LP). UK: Stream, 1969.
- Ace: Poems, 1966-1979 (CD). London: Optic Nerve / Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck College, 2004.
- Writing: Poems, 1980-2003 (CD). London: Optic Nerve / Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck College, 2004.
- Tom Raworth: Reading from his poems (CD). London: Poetry Archive, 2005.
- "Never Entered Mind," Poem of the Week at The Guardian
- Tom Raworth b. 1938 at the Poetry Foundation.
- Tom Raworth @ EPC (Electronic Poetry Center)
- Audio / video
- Tom Raworth at Salt Publishing
- Tom Raworth at the British Council.
- "Tom Raworth", 9th International Literature Festival Berlin
- Tom Raworth Official website.
- Tom Raworth; An interview at Roadrunner (.PDF)
- How Radio Works: Time, Identity and the Tradition of Dead Generations in Tom Raworth's Poetry by John Muckle Part Two Part Three Part Four
- Seeing Through Walls: review of Collected Poems at The Guardian.
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