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These objects are items which are listened to and teach. As the title suggests, the poem begins by describing Fox running through the suburbs of London. However, the Shorter Oxford Dictionary offers no definition of the word at all. Woman I loved. This running and destruction eventually seeps into the language itself. These voices which suggest not just the disintegration of the narrator, are part and parcel of the disintegration and alienation of the city itself; an alienation which moves from speech and conversation into the very language itself. Often this precisely realised empathy consists in dramatic monologue. There are, however, limitations to the depth of engagement in a short, lyric poem. These, though, are quibbles. What we now have here is the collected poetry of a singular and driven voice.
Ken Smith was a major voice in world poetry, his work and example inspiring a whole generation of younger British poets. His later work was included in the posthumous You Again Bloodaxe Books, His early books span a transition from a preoccupation with land and myth to his later engagement - which achieves its full flowering in Shed - with urban Britain and the politics of radical disaffection. A huge cast of overheard characters, wanderers, losers and remembrancers passes through his writing, bound by a common sense of loss and endurance' — Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times.
Ken Smith was born in Rudston, Yorkshire, the son of a farm labourer whose work meant Ken had an itinerant childhood. He later co-edited Stand with Silkin, the politically radical and socially engaged poetry magazine which had an important influence. In Smith won a Gregory Award for his first pamphlet of poetry, his first full collection, The Pity , appearing from Jonathan Cape in After joining the student and staff protests at Leeds in , Smith left for America. American culture, poetry and landscapes were to remain key inspirations. Smith returned to England in and his work gradually began to attract notice at a national level, especially through the influence of Bloodaxe which began publishing his poetry in and which became an increasingly significant player in the poetry world. His poetry, both accessible and highly individual, developed a wide readership happy to join Smith on his voyage of self-discovery as he sought out "a language to speak to myself" Times Literary Supplement. This he did, paradoxically, by looking outwards to other peoples and cultures and through developing a series of outsider personas. Smith was always drawn to the marginalised in his work, those excluded from mainstream society — he was writer-in-residence at Wormwood Scrubs Prison — but in whom society's contradictions and injustices can most clearly be seen.