G.F. Dutton (1924-2010) wrote austerely passionate poems which search and illuminate the world about us. They are as much explorations as his notable scientific work: both draw on one continuous spectrum of experience. In Dutton's diverse life and work, metaphor was as significant as the clearcut episodes which invoke it. From his windblasted vantage-point edging the Scottish Highlands, he explored mountain, sea, forest, industrial city, various arts and biomolecular research, publishing books on wildwater swimming, mountaineering and mountain gardening as well as three poetry collections and this retrospective. Numerous scientific publications add to this continuous spectrum of enquiry: an abundance he found multiplied, maybe unified, by being laid bare.
Over a huge landscape - recognisably Scotland and its border of cold ocean - Dutton's strong clean poems strike like shafts of light through rolling clouds. They are illuminations. Each poem exists in an enormous perspective of time...He stands alone in a new rank of an old tradition. I think he is one of the finest poets of our time. -- Anne Stevenson
About G.F. Dutton
G.F., G.J., G.J.F. or Geoffrey Dutton (1924-2010) was born on the Welsh borders of Anglo-Scots parentage and brought up in the Scottish diaspora. Apart from much global travelling, he lived thereafter lived with wife and family in Scotland, the passionate austerities of which compel his poetry - helped by many other lifetime environments, including mountain, sea, forest, industrial tenement, hillside shack, various arts and the intercontinental circuses of biomolecular research. Major publications fed by what he calls 'this metaphorical imperative' cover solo longdistance wildwater snorkel swimming (Swimming Free, Heinemann & St Martins Press, 1972); mountaineering - his 'classics of wit and humour' The Ridiculous Mountains (Diadem) and Nothing So Simple as Climbing (Hodder) were combined as third edition in The Complete Doctor Stories (Baton Wicks 1999 reprint); and his 44-year 'ecological dialogue' with a few rocky windblasted East Highland acres led to various articles, radio and TV features and the acclaimed pair Harvesting the Edge (prose and verse, Menard Press 1995, Scottish Arts Council [SAC] Award) and Some Branch Against the Sky (prose, David & Charles and Timber Press 1997). He wrote much poetry on these explorations but published it rarely: his first collection pamphlet, 31 Poems (Old Fire Station Poets, Oxford, 1977) was followed by three book-length collections, Camp One (Macdonald, 1978: SAC Award), Squaring the Waves (Bloodaxe Books, 1986: SAC Award) and The Concrete Garden (Bloodaxe Books, 1991: Poetry Book Society Recommendation), and what was to be his swansong, The Bare Abundance: Selected Poems 1975-2001 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002: Poetry Book Society Recommendation).
Squaring the Waves by G.F. Dutton
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Bloodaxe Books Ltd
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