About Tom Raworth

Tom Raworth (1938 - 2017), in addition to a career that included being the editor of Outburst magazine, founder of the Goliard Press, and an artist whose shows were seen in galleries in Europe and America, was a prolific poet, with over forty books and pamphlets published since 1966. Born in London, he travelled widely and lived in both the USA and Mexico before returning to Britain, settling in Cambridge, where he was Poet in Residence to Kings College, Cambridge; he also received the Alice Hunt Bartlett prize, the Cholmondeley Award, and Arts Council funding for his writing. His Collected Poems were published by Carcanet in 2003.

His poetry's subject matter ranges widely, including self-reflexive poems that discuss their own creation - "i remove i and a colon from two lines above" in 'The Moon Upoon the Waters' to the loving farewell in 'You Were Wearing Blue', from elegiac fragments such as 'In Memoriam Ludwig Wittgenstein' to political engagements in poems like 'Human Warmth' or 'Nothing'. Formally, while Raworth is not often given to familiar forms or full-rhyme, he will often shape his poems with stanzas or structural systems that counterpoint the flow of the poem.

That flow is a fast one, a stream of images interlinking and resonating off one another; in Raworth's work, it is not the place of the poet to extrapolate intelligible meanings from these for a listener, the speaker in 'Wedding Day' insisting that "i made this pact, intelligence / shall not replace intuition". It is to this end that each image rapidly takes the place of its predecessor, too fast to work out an intellectual response completely, and his delivery is rapid to match - not at any point unclear, simply committed to what he calls, in 'The Vein', "the requisite speed" - and exhilarating to attend to.

Raworth introduces the CD with a brief preface to his history and style, but not the poems - he finds individual introductions "at worst tedious and at best more interesting than the poems that follow" - and they need none. Robert Creeley has said "I'm fascinated by what he's doing. He's an extraordinary poet"; this is an extraordinary reading.

His recording was made on 18 April 2005 at The Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Windmills in Flames: Old and New Poems Carcanet Press...

Catacoustics, Reality Street 1991


Etruscan Reader v5 (Tom Raworth, Bill Griffiths, Tom...

Earn Your Milk: Collected Prose, Salt Publishing 2008

Let Baby Fall, Critical Documents 2008

The Caller and Other Pieces, Edge Books 2006

Tottering State: Selected Poems, O Books 2000

Clean & Well-Lit, Roof Books 1996

Eternal Sections, Sun and Moon 1993



1966 Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize

1972 Cholmondeley Award

Prize website

1999 Poetry Skipper Gold Medal (Italy)

2002 Philip Whalen Memorial Award

2007 Antonio Delfini prize for lifetime achievement 2007 Antonio Delfini prize for lifetime achievement


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2You Were Wearing Blue

3Wedding Day

4The Others

5My Son The Haiku Writer

6Who Is Hannibal's Descendent, Leading His Elephants Against the Tanks?

7You've Ruined My Evening / You've Ruined My Life

8Inner Space

9The Sure Grip of a Cat's Paw

10Lion Lion

11Jungle Book

12King of the Snow

13Floral Luncheons and Service Dinners

14The Moon Upoon the Waters

15One Two Three

16Songs of the Depression

17Que Bonitos Ochos Tienes!

18Lunch is Ready


20That More Simple Natural Time Tone Distortion


22Nothing to the Power of Language

23Sleep, Perch

24The West

25English Opium

26In Memoriam L. Wittgenstein

27No Light No Tunnel

28Living Under the Divine Right of Sheriffs

29Human Warmth


31The Vein

32All Fours

33Name Unknown

34Intellectual Compost 3


36Differences in Common

37No Hard Feelings

38Follow the Food

39Affirmative =/= 2 x Negative

Books by Tom Raworth