• An alternative afterlife: Plath’s experimental poetics

      Farmer, Gareth; Brain, Tracy; University of Bedfordshire; Bath Spa University (Cambridge University Press, 2019-08-01)
      Following Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s lead, Gareth Farmer repositions Plath’s work in experimental British, European and American lineages, testing the complexity of her ‘poetic artifice’ against Forrest-Thomson’s theory and offering ‘other’ intellectual and literary contexts of her work. Such contexts activate alternative questions for the poetry, such as the role and function of form in carrying epistemological and cognitive information, or the ways in which poetry offers a critique of lyric singularity, address and subjectivity. A more sustained concentration on Plath’s poetic artifice offers new intellectual contexts as well as alternative horizons for understanding the afterlife of her work.
    • Avant-folk: small press poetry networks from 1950 to the present

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (2018-09-11)
    • Diurnal Sweigh: 365 poems

      Farmer, Gareth (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019-06-03)
      A collection of poems.
    • The intaglio element in Prince's verse

      Farmer, Gareth (Liverpool University Press, 2017-01-23)
      There is something peculiar about the syntax of Prince’s verse. Which adjectives come close to describing the curious, entangled emotions elicited when reading the lines from Prince’s most famous poem ‘Soldiers Bathing’: ‘And my mind towards the meaning of it strives // All’s pathos now. The body than was gross […] by pain and labour grows at length / Fragile and luminous’? How would we describe the quiet, reserved restraint of ‘Guns, gallows, barracks, poles and bars; / Seem to have laboured but to fetch us love’ from ‘The Book’? In this paper I propose that Prince’s syntax in the poems of Soldiers Bathing is a product of multiple pressures mirroring those he outlines in his intriguing The Italian Element in Milton’s Verse. It is just such pressures, I suggest, that enable him to carve out and maintain the co-presence of both conceptual and affective contradictions – entangled and uncertain ideas – which are the primary subject of these poems and which give his verse its peculiar quality.    
    • Languishing in 'rent-a-Marx/Margaret rhetoric': the phono-politics of Douglas Oliver's The Infant and the Pearl

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-21)
      In The Infant and the Pearl (1985), the poet Douglas Oliver draws on the alliterative and allegorical features of mediaeval verse to create a dream-like satire of Britain under Margaret Thatcher. Once a central feature of most Old English poetry, since Chaucer, alliteration and rhyme have often been used in the service of parody and satire. But, how do complex sound-structures aid satire and generate political content? Drawing on Oliver’s poetic and critical work, as well as contemporary research into prosody and politics, this article argues that the sound patterning in The Infant and the Pearl creates a caricatured version of Thatcher’s ‘politically unsound’ Britain. Oliver uses sonic patterns to create an artificial parody of the bathetic ‘uncommon rhetoric’ of consumerism and the ‘false pearls’ of the political classes. Far from being an accessory to meaning, the sound structures are vehicles for parodying the operations of the rhetoric of the ‘unreal’ apparent in social and political discourse. Oliver envisages sound patterning – as performed with every private and public reading – as offering recalibrations of people’s experience of language and the world, as well as leading to glimpses of a communality beyond political and social division.
    • Poetic artifice: a theory of twentieth-century poetry / Veronica Forrest-Thompson

      Farmer, Gareth (Shearsman Books, 2016-04-29)
      First published posthumously in 1978 by Manchester University Press, this volume turned sharply against critics of the previous generation, notably William Empson, and against emergent strains of historicism. The book is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) defence of "all the rhythmic, phonetic, verbal, and logical devices which make poetry different from prose." According to the author, such devices are responsible for poetry's most significant effect-not pleasure or ornament or some kind of special expressivity, but the production of "alternative imaginary orders."
    • Pomes: incidental, uncollected poetry 2008-2013

      Farmer, Gareth (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019-06-03)
      A selection of poems
    • Veronica Forrest-Thomson: poet on the periphery

      Farmer, Gareth (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017-10-11)
      This study offers a comprehensive examination of the work of the young poet and scholar, Veronica Forrest-Thomson (1947-1975) in the context of a literary-critical revolution of the late sixties and seventies and evaluates her work against contemporary debates in poetry and poetics. Gareth Farmer explores Forrest-Thomson’s relationship to the conflicting models of literary criticism in the twentieth century such as the close-reading models of F.R Leavis and William Empson, postructuralist models, and the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Written by the leading scholar on Forrest-Thomson’s work, this study explores Forrest-Thomson’s published work as well as unpublished materials from the Veronica Forrest-Thomson Archive. Drawing on close readings of Forrest-Thomson’s writings, this study argues that her work enables us reevaluate literary-critical history and suggests new paradigms for the literary aesthetics and poetics of the future.