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Previous Publications


Captive Dragons / The Shadow Thorns (2011)




A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (2009)




Giving Light - Waterloo Sampler No. 2 (2003)



Alan Morrison Blaze a Vanishing and The Tall Skies (De Höga Himlarna) (2013)


ISBN 978-1-906742-59-1


On Captive Dragons/ The Shadow Thorns:

...magnificent and beautifully designed work [which] reads like a coming together of Milton and Joyce... quite simply a masterpiece
Steve Spence, Stride

...the style of Captive Dragons is Poundian and reminiscent of The Cantos in sections ...an extraordinarily vast and ambitious work
James Fountain, The London Magazine

...may prove to be one of the poetic wonders of modern psychiatric literature... one of the keys to the mysterious world of art brut
Gwilym Williams, Poet in Residence

Funded by an Arts Council Grants for the Arts Award, Blaze a Vanishing is Alan Morrison’s fifth poetry collection, and his third with Waterloo Press. The Tall Skies links back in part to the ‘Swedish Suite’ of 2009’s A Tapestry of Absent Sitters but is a more far-ranging and sustained outing into aspects of the social, cultural and literary history of Sweden. There are poem-appreciations of such Swedish luminaries as Emanuel Swedenborg, John Bauer, Alfred Nobel and Ingmar Bergman. But Morrison’s primary focus is on the turbulent lives of some of the leading autodidactic talents of Swedish early twentieth century ‘proletarian literature’: Dan Andersson, Ivar-Lo Johansson, Harry and Moa Martinson. The vast, unspoilt Swedish landscape is celebrated; as is the egalitarian social ethic of Sweden’s classless society.

The eponymous second part of the book throws a torch-light over Britain past and present, ever arrested in a stalemate between instincts of progressivism, and a change-resistant ‘island mentality’. Contemporary England is viewed as a germinal for social stigma projected as a sacrificial common mythology to help camouflage the true agents of austerity. But this is an historical pedigree of judgment, and Morrison pays acrostic tribute to some of the forward-thinking cultural figures who were shaped, resisted, but ultimately appreciated by its hegemonies. Poets active during and in the wake of the last Depression —T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Alun Lewis— mingle with artists of other periods —Gustav Holst, Vaslav Nijinsky, Sylvia Plath.

The title sequence charts the ‘shadow lineage’ of British ‘proletarian’ literature, from the 18th to mid-20th century, via a dialectical materialist précis of the history of publishing as a class struggle for monopolies of reputation and posterity. This theme is the mortise from which both parts of the book dovetail; as is a concurrent focus on pre-suffrage female luminaries such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kata Dalström and Annie Besant —the latter two, posthumous figureheads for legion forgotten working-class women campaigners.


Alan Morrison’s poetry first appeared in the First Edition Asham Award anthology Don’t Think of Tigers (The Do Not Press, 2001). He is author of
the verse play Picaresque (2005; 2008) and four poetry collections: The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006),
A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo Press, 2009; shortlisted for the Purple Patch
Best Volume 2010), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack, 2010; shortlisted for the Tillie Olsen Award; recorded to CD by acclaimed actor Michael Jayston), and Captive Dragons/ The Shadow Thorns (Waterloo, 2011).

Morrison is editor of polemical literary webzine The Recusant (www.therecusant.org.uk). His poetry and monographs have most recently appeared in
Stand, The Morning Star, The Communist Review, The London Magazine, Poetry and All That Jazz, and in the
anthologies The Reiver’s Stone (Ettrick Forest Press, 2011) and Soul Feathers: An Anthology to Aid the Work of Macmillan Cancer Support (Indigo Dreams, 2011). In 2012, Morrison edited and introduced The Robin Hood Book — Poets in Support of the Robin Hood Tax (Caparison).


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