Look with the Ears

Charles Tomlinson’s Poetry of Sound

by Richard Swigg (Author)
©2002 Monographs 362 Pages


This volume traces the way in which the poetry of Charles Tomlinson evolved from the 1940s to the 1990s as an acoustic means of «seeing» and voicing the physical world. Jointly discussing for the first time the auditory effects of the verse and its many textual forms, the book also draws upon the newly available collection of Tomlinson’s poetry manuscripts at the University of Texas and his many recorded readings. The vocal influence of American poetry – notably that of Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams – is assessed, together with Tomlinson’s English literary inheritance and the impact of his own translations of Fyodor Tyutchev and Antonio Machado. The importance of his dialogues with Octavio Paz is given special attention, and the relation between Tomlinson’s surrealist paintings and his auditory verse receives its first critical discussion. Throughout the book, the unfolding sequence of Tomlinson’s poetic development is supported by a chronology of composition. Bringing together sound and sight as its major theme, this book is also arguing for the central importance of Tomlinson as an international poet.


ISBN (Softcover)
influence literary inheritance paintings
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Oxford, Wien, 2002. 362 pp.

Biographical notes

Richard Swigg (Author)

The Author: Richard Swigg, formerly Senior Lecturer in English, Keele University, England, has published Lawrence, Hardy and American Literature (Oxford 1972), Charles Tomlinson and the Objective Tradition (Bucknell 1994), and the collected recordings of Charles Tomlinson, William Carlos Williams, Basil Bunting and Hugh MacDiarmid.


Title: Look with the Ears