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Inside Story : New and Selected Poems

Inside Story : New and Selected Poems

Inside Story : New and Selected Poems

by William Scammell

200pp Hardback
ISBN 978-1-904852-21-6
Published 23rd September 2008

£12.95 post free in UK.

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William Scammell was born in Hythe near Southampton in 1939. Leaving school at 15, he worked at unrewarding jobs until his spell as a ship’s photographer on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary and then as a copywriter. His voracious appetite for books and ideas led him to read English and Philosophy as a mature student at Bristol University. He took up a post as Adult Education Tutor for the WEA in the Cotswolds before moving north to Cockermouth in the seventies with his wife Jackie and their sons, Ben and Chris, to work as Newcastle University’s Staff Tutor in Literature for Cumbria.

He later moved to a farm cottage on the outskirts of Aspatria, where he lived with his second wife Jan. Before he came to live in the Lake District his writing had been mainly short stories. The poems arrived with his coming to live in Cumbria. He became a full time writer in 1991 and was chief poetry reviewer for the Independent on Sunday, contributing many reviews and articles to other journals and magazines like London Magazine, Poetry Review, The Spectator, Stand and Critical Quarterly. He died in 2000 at the age of 61 (Guardian obituary).

A collection of some of his liveliest criticism Nightwatch (Shoestring Press) was launched on the same day as this book at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.

For John Lucas “William Scammell has always had his own take on the world, jaunty, opinionated, but with a sharp eloquence.” (Stand). Roy Fuller called him “a true poet.” (The Spectator). Grevel Lindop praised “his intelligence and honesty as well as his skill with language.” (The Times Literary Supplement). Elizabeth Jennings noted his “dazzling formal virtuosity” (The Daily Telegraph). Anne Stevenson saw him as “a deadly satirist” (Arts North). Sean O’Brien hailed All Set to Fall Off the Edge of the World as a very impressive collection (Northern Review) and Jo Shapcott described it as “lively, accessible and rich with a refreshing lack of affectations.” (Independent on Sunday).


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Last modified: 3 November 2008