Basil Bunting was one of the most important British poets of the 20th century. Acknowledged since the s as a major figure in Modernist poetry, first by Pound. Briggflatts by Basil Bunting is one of the great poems of the twentieth century, though it has not always occupied a central place in discussions. Basil Bunting’s poem “Briggflatts” has been hailed as the successor to Ezra Pound’s “Cantos” and T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” Bunting himself.

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In one sense, this is pure sound evoking a pastoral idyll and it should be enjoyed as such: The first two extracts here follow the sequence used in the film, not that of the poem itself the second extract is the opening of the poem: Edge of the world; Northumbrian gunting. His delivery reminds us that language is built of muscle and saliva, air and bone.

But there is some light in the gloom.

Briggflatts – Wikipedia

Mark Rudman suggests that “Briggflatts” is an buntiny of how free verse can be seen as an advance on traditional metrical poetry. Basil Bunting reading from Briggflatts This video features four short extracts of Basil Bunting reading from his long poem Briggflatts not in orderfrom Peter Bell’s film portrait of Bunting, included on a DVD issued vunting the new Bloodaxe edition of Briggflatts which also has a CD of an audio recording Bunting made of the whole of Briggflatts in You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

The rhyme scheme also changes throughout the poem as the bulk of the text appears in free verse while other lines do contain rhyming patterns.


The poem begins with an epigraph reading: Part 3 is outside the main structure of the poem: North Northumberland, Farne Islands. In line with the moral of BriggflattsCuthbert was a quiet hero living on the margins of society who loved nature without seeking to control it.

The reasons for this are complex, and have to do with a range of contentious biographical and historical factors such as the marginal status of modernism in the UK and Bunting’s own variable reputation. Bunting immediately ubnting us into the soundscape in their heads, and makes us hear all the small, complex interactions of horses and cartwheels. The young lovers touch and kiss in stanza five, a masterpiece of tactile finesse and density of texture.

In terms of the realist dimension, there may also be a glance here at the war and destruction Bunting witnessed in the mid-twentieth century we are now, chronologically, up to the ss. If part 4 was mostly tragic notes with a brief briggflatrs interlude, part 5 is the opposite.

Poem of the week: from Briggflatts by Basil Bunting

My intention is to try to shine light on the basic subjects and structures of the poem, without diminishing its music and magic. Meanwhile, the labour of the mason goes on, a two-stanza ostinato-bass of tapping and sanding and getting the memorial-work done.

Paralleling this episode, Bunting nods in the final lines of the section at the Ancient Greek myth of Pasiphae, who gave birth to the Minotaur after an encounter with a bull sent by the briggflayts Poseidon note the subject rhyme with the bull at the start of the poem.

North Yorkshire; Lindisfarne; Tynedale.

Briggflatts | Bloodaxe Books

Alexander tries to conquer the world and reach the limits of experience, but in doing so he is ultimately returned back to the ground, to his homeland for Alexander this was Macedonia, but Bunting describes it here as a kind of Northumbrian arcadia.


All his poetry is available in Complete Poems Bloodaxe Books, Basil Bunting was one of the most important British poets of briggflattz 20th century. Thanks for sharing this information with us. Views Read Edit View history. The bull will re-appear later, when Bunting recalls the legend of Pasiphae.

Virtuoso of the verb and grand-master of the preposition, he rarely wastes time on an adverb, but is more liberal with exact and sensuous adjectives. The Bloodaxe narrative is treated more fully: The section is based on an episode from the medieval Persian epic poem Shahnameh, which includes a portrayal of the Greek leader Alexander the Great BC.

In each stanzaic unit, all significant words and few are not significant make alliterative or assonantal relationships with others. Stocking to stocking, jersey to jersey, head to a hard arm, they kiss under the rain, bruised by their marble bed.

What exactly happens to Alexander on the mountain? Decay thrusts the blade, wheat stands in excrement trembling. It does help, it is true, to have a skeleton key to unlock the door to Briggflatts. But I think the really essential facts about the poem can be summarised in a relatively tight space.

Early adulthood to early middle age. Briggflatts is a dense, carefully wrought high-modernist work. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. The work is subtitled “An Autobiography.