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High on Rust: Selected Poems

High on Rust: Selected Poems (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Ray Webber's remarkable poems speak in a unique voice. It's one that challenges, amuses, inspires and sometimes even scares. It's a voice that always leaves you feeling that you've experienced something out of the ordinary, even something extraordinary. Do the poems express anger? Yes, sometimes. Scepticism? Sure. Are they tender? Surprisingly so. The one quality Ray Webber's poems never exude is bitterness. Sartre's 'Spirit of Seriousness' never infects the work, but that doesn't mean it's not serious. The vile, the stupid, the insane, the ludicrous - many of the hideous aspects of life - are embraced along with the virtuous and the good. The phrases, philosophies often explode from the page in a word-splattered poetic drive-by. Elsewhere there are tender, elegant, wistful expressions of regret, longing, missed opportunities, fading powers, hopelessness born of experience, but Ray's Poetry House is never bleak. His literary influences range from Anna Akhmatova, Charles Bukowski, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Frank O'Hara, ee Cummings, Shakespeare and the King James Bible to the the dark musings of Paul Celan.Utimately his greatest influence is the world he has lived in - the slums of his childhood; unemployment riots; paternal imprisonment; anarchist childminders; Hitler and Mussolini's headkicks; the estates he's seen rise, decay and crumble into pits of anti-social behaviour, and occasional defiance; the cider houses where no-one rules; the fall of Communism; the liberating unzipping of the 1960s; the burst balloons of idealism; social upheaval; broken hearts and broken people; trauma and - most of all - survival.

Fiction & PoetryPoetryPoetry by individual poets Publisher: Tangent Books Publication Date: 16/10/2016 ISBN-13: 9781910089415  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Raymond Webber was born in 1923 in Redcliffe, Bristol, of Welsh parents, Charles and Kate Webber. His father, a former miner and RAF craftsman, became an active communist and leading member of the National Unemployed Workers Movement. While growing up Ray met many left-wing luminaries of the day and became familiar with Marxist jargon and slogans which served him well when he later became a serious reader of Marx and Lenin and joined the Young Communist League.Webber's mother, a devout Catholic, took charge of his education while Charlie devoted all his time and energy to 'hastening the coming of the proletarian revolution'. Webber's formal education ended at the age of 14. He embarked on an erratic career in dead-end jobs until he was conscripted, aged 18. He served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in North Africa and Italy, and took part in the Selerno Beach landings.After the war - idling around in Rome, and later Milan awaiting discharge - he cultivated a love of opera and classical ballet. A friend introduced him to Boswell's Life of Johnson. This sparked off an undying love of literature; fiction, non-fiction and modernist poetry. He also began to develop an ongoing interest in contemporary art.Post-war he worked in a variety of jobs, retiring in his early 50s to concentrate on writing and study.In 1973 the Bristol Evening Post, in conjunction with the Bristol Arts Centre in Kings Square in Lower Kingsdown, promoted a poetry competition. Webber's poem 'Bristol Themes' was awarded first prize and he was consequently invited by poet Bill Pickard to join the Arts Centre Poetry Circle. The Circle in the Square as it was known- which broke up at the end of the 1970s - encouraged writers to submit their poems for criticism to deepen their interest in the poems of established and aspiring writers. Webber's first book Without Some Light in the Bone - which he now considers unsatisfactory, save for a few pieces - was published in 1974.The poems in this book are from the many that have been written since then. Webber destroyed most of the 500 or so written during the Circle in the Square days.Ray is now largely housebound and writes infrequently owing to poor health.

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