J. H. Prynne

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Jeremy Halvard Prynne (born 24 June 1936) is a British poet closely associated with the British Poetry Revival.

Prynne's early influences include Charles Olson and Donald Davie. His first book, Force of Circumstance and Other Poems was published in 1962; Prynne has excluded it from his canon. His Poems (1982) collected all the work he wanted to keep in print up to the time of publication, beginning with Kitchen Poems (1968). Expanded and updated versions appeared in 1999, 2005, and 2015. Prynne was one of the key figures in the Cambridge group of Revival poets and was a major contributor to The English Intelligencer.

In addition to his poetry, Prynne has published some critical and academic prose. A transcription of a 1971 lecture on Olson's Maximus Poems at Simon Fraser University has had wide circulation.[1] His longer works include a monograph on Ferdinand de Saussure, Stars, Tigers and the Shape of Words,[2] and self-published book-length commentaries on poems by Wordsworth (Field Notes: 'The Solitary Reaper' and others) and Shakespeare (They That Haue Powre to Hurt; A Specimen of a Commentary on Shake-speares Sonnets, 94). His essay on New Songs from a Jade Terrace, an anthology of early Chinese love poetry, was included in the second edition of the book from Penguin 1982. He has written poetry in classical Chinese under the name Pu Ling-en (蒲龄恩). In 2016, a lengthy interview with Prynne about his poetic practice appeared in The Paris Review as part of its "The Art of Poetry" series.[3]

Prynne was educated at St Dunstan's College, Catford, and Jesus College, Cambridge.[4] He is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He retired in October 2005 from his posts teaching English Literature as a Lecturer and University Reader in English Poetry for the University of Cambridge and as Director of Studies in English for Gonville and Caius College; in September 2006 he retired from his position as Librarian of the College.



  • Force of Circumstance and Other Poems (1962)
  • Kitchen Poems (1968)
  • Aristeas (1968)
  • Day Light Songs (1968)
  • The White Stones (1969)
  • Fire Lizard (1970)
  • Brass (1971)
  • A Night Square (1971)
  • Into The Day (1972)
  • Wound Response (1974)
  • High Pink on Chrome (1975)
  • News of Warring Clans (1977)
  • Down Where Changed (1979)
  • Poems (1982)
  • The Oval Window (1983)
  • Bands Around the Throat (1987)
  • Word Order (1989)
  • Jie ban mi Shi Hu (1992)
  • Not-You (1993)
  • Her Weasels Wild Returning (1994)
  • For the Monogram (1997)
  • Red D Gypsum (1998)
  • Pearls That Were (1999)
  • Poems (2nd edition, 1999)
  • Triodes (2000)
  • Unanswering Rational Shore (2001)
  • Acrylic Tips (2002)
  • Biting the Air (2003)
  • Blue Slides At Rest (2004)
  • Poems (3rd edition, 2005)
  • To Pollen (2006)
  • SUB SONGS (2010)
  • Kazoo Dreamboats; or, On What There Is (2011)
  • Al-Dente (2014)
  • Poems (4th edition, 2015)
  • Each to Each (2017)
  • Of the Abyss (2017)
  • Or Scissel (2018)
  • Of Better Scrap (2019)


  • 'English Poetry and Emphatical Language', Proceedings of the British Academy, 74 (1988), 135-69
  • Stars, Tigers and the Shape of Words (1993)
  • They That Haue Powre to Hurt; A Specimen of a Commentary on Shake-speares Sonnets, 94 (2001)
  • Field Notes: 'The Solitary Reaper' and others (2007)
  • George Herbert, Love III: A Discursive Commentary (2011)
  • Early correspondence and essays in Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer (Cambridge: Mountain, 2012)
  • Concepts and Conception in Poetry (Cambridge: Critical Documents, 2014)
  • "J.H. Prynne, The Art of Poetry No. 101" (New York: Paris Review, 218, Fall 2016)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ J.H. Prynne, Stars, Tigers and the Shape of Words (London: Birkbeck College, 1993)
  3. ^ The Paris Review No. 218, Fall 2016
  4. ^ ""Cambridge Tripos Results"". Times. 23 June 1960.

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