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Ric Caddel Sampler


I doubt whether he ever allowed a word into print that he hadn’t measured against what he understood to be the fullest meanings of what it is to be human.

Tony Baker


In Quiet Music of Words, a series of conversations with the painter Anthony Flowers, British poet Richard Caddel provides a list of ten favorite poems, “of this moment.” The list includes poems by Basil Bunting, Joseph Ceravolo, John Clare, Lorine Niedecker, Ezra Pound, Christopher Smart, and Gilbert Sorrentino. These influences and resonances are indicative of Ric’s concerns with music, location, and nature; Objectivism runs through the filter of the British pastoral. In his lifetime he published three major books: Sweet Cicely (Durham: Taxus Press, 1983), Uncertain Time (Newcastle upon Tyne: Galloping Dog, 1990), and Larksong Signal (Plymouth: Shearsman, 1997), in addition to Magpie Words (Sheffield: West House Books, 2002), a Selected Poems which he put together. His final volume, Writing in the Dark, was issued after his death in 2003 (Sheffield: West House Books).

As well as a poet, Ric was a librarian and a publisher. As a librarian, he was the founder and director of the Basil Bunting Poetry Centre in the University of Durham (UK). As publisher, he and his wife Ann ran Pig Press for twenty-nine years, publishing many key, lesser known British and Irish poets (including Lee Harwood, Tony Baker, and Iain Sinclair) as well as inspirational or sympathetic Americans such as Robert Creeley, Lorine Niedecker, and William Corbett. Addressing the dual role of poet and publisher, Ric says:

… so much of the best poetry in this country exists on a self-help basis, I think it’s important that participants in such a process do their bit - join in the table-laying and washing up around the meal. I’m generally impatient of people who sit back and wait for it all to happen to them.

It is this integration of life and work that is at the heart of Ric Caddel’s poetry. I should think any small press poet, publisher, or reader can get behind this sentiment, and get into the work itself.


—Aaron Tieger

H_NGM_N selection:

larksong signal (from Larksong Signal. Plymouth: Shearsman, 1997)
i from wreay churchyard (from Uncertain Time. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Galloping Dog, 1990)
ii rigmarole: and each several chamber bless (from Uncertain Time)
viii shell (from Uncertain Time)
ix grackles (from Uncertain Time)
xiv and nothing would it bear (from Uncertain Time)
xxxv variations : moving westwards (from Uncertain Time)
xl translation from a lost source (from Uncertain Time)
a little black book of dark things (from Writing in the Dark. Sheffield: West House Books, 2003)
nocturnall (from Writing in the Dark)


Be on the lookout for Uncertain Time, Ric Caddel edited by Aaron Tieger.  Forthcoming from Pressed Wafer, Boston. 2008.

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