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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Briggflatts is a dense, carefully wrought high-modernist work. The first part has a regular structure of 12 stanzas each containing 13 lines. The solemn mallet says: The verse here is emphatically musical, foregrounding alliteration, assonance and internal rhyme, with a stark rhyming couplet at the end of each stanza to draw it to a close.

English poems United Kingdom poem briggflafts.

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 sea-god Poseidon note the subject rhyme with the bull at the start of the poem.

It is a complex work, drawing on many elements of his life, experience and knowledge, and features the saint Cuthbert and the warrior king Eric Bloodaxe as two opposing aspects of the Northumbrian — and his — character.

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Mark Rudman suggests that “Briggflatts” is an example of how free verse can be seen as an advance on traditional metrical poetry.

Briggflatts – Part I – Poem by Basil Bunting

Briggflatts is a long poem by Basil Bunting published in Many thanks are due to Newcastle University for their assistance with this project under the KTP scheme.

The first two extracts here follow brigggflatts sequence used in the film, not that of the poem itself the second extract is the opening of the poem: Rocks happen by chance.


His delivery reminds us that language is built of muscle and saliva, air and bone.

In Shahnameh, Alexander journeys with his troops to the mountains of Gog and Magog at the edge of the world. Having accepted the need to be patient and respect human limitations in the face of nature, it is now possible to appreciate the precious details of life: The text contains a note explaining that the word means “little sparrows” in a north-east dialect.

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.


Tongue stumbles, ears err for fear of spring. But there is some light in the gloom. The purpose of this allusion is twofold. Dance tiptoe, bull, black against may.

It’s very helpful for us. Lying dazed in the moss and bracken after his fall from the mountain, he encounters the hero of Briggflattsthe slowworm actually a snake-like lizard who advises him to lie low, be patient, persistent and mindful of the beauty of his surroundings. All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from November Articles with permanently dead external links Webarchive template wayback links All stub articles.

However, there is still the nagging sense of tragedy that has persisted throughout Briggflatts. The following brief guide should hopefully provide a good foundation for first-time readers. Decay thrusts the blade, wheat stands in excrement trembling. As a teacher of undergraduate students over the last few years, I have found that Part 1 in particular lends itself very well to group reading and seminar discussion: Poetry lies dead on the page until some voice brings it to life, just as music on the stave, is no more than instructions to the player.

By such rocks men killed Bloodaxe. Part 2 is by some distance the longest in the poem. 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.


Order by newest oldest recommendations. Thanks for sharing this information with us. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. North Northumberland, Farne Islands.

Tellingly, the poem ends with a question mark this is a work of literature that proclaims its own uncertainty and inability to conquer the world with language.

Poem of the week: from Briggflatts by Basil Bunting | Books | The Guardian

More personally, the litany of death and decay segues eventually into a recollection of the buunting love affair with Peggy. Stone smooth as skin, cold as the dead they load on a low lorry by night. Virtuoso of the verb and grand-master hunting the preposition, he rarely wastes time on an adverb, but is more liberal with exact and sensuous adjectives. Show 25 25 50 All. No one here bolts the door, love is so sore.

Briggflatts – Part I Poem by Basil Bunting – Poem Hunter Comments

In Garsdale, dawn; at Hawes, tea from the can. Aside from its musical properties, part 4 is also notable for its elegiac subjects.

It begins with allusions to the sixth-century poet Aneirin the correct buntinngwhose most baasil work Y Gododdin describes the Battle of Catterick and its aftermath in North Yorkshire around AD. The moon sits on the fell but it will rain.

Notes on Free Verse”. In one sense, this is pure sound evoking a pastoral idyll and it should be enjoyed as such: For all that, one thing is certain in the end: You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

What sort of divine intervention is at play here?

Edge of the world; Northumbrian arcadia.

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