Peter Hodgkiss: Interview with Chris Torrance for Poetry Information 1977

Peter Hodgkiss:

I started Poetry Information in London in January 1970 as a modest broadsheet listing recent poetry publications.  Moving to Swansea in the mid-1970s gave me the time to expand the magazine to include critical articles on poets involved in what has (rather grandly) been described as the British Poetry Revival (i.e. poets outside the mainstream of the established presses and literary magazines).  With this in mind I discovered that Chris Torrance, whose work I already knew from his Ferry Press collections of the late-60s, had recently moved to a cottage in the Vale of Neath high above the Swansea valley.  What could romantically called a hermits life.  He made the occasional visit to the “big city”  and we linked up, got on well, and I was able to organise several readings at different Swansea venues including the No Sign Bar and the Buffalo Social Club, as well as the more “arty” Swansea Arts Workshop.  When I decided to do an interview issue of the magazine Chris seemed an obvious candidate having spent his earlier life in South London before moving to South Wales.  To me the interview works well and, together with the other interviews (Thomas a Clark, Tom Pickard, Barry MacSweeney, Ken Smith) provides an interesting insight into the “alternative” poetry scene at the time.

Further information is provided in the Book CUSP, edited by Geraldine Monk.  Also for those involved in further research the Peter Hodgkiss archive is available at the British Library.

Torrance Interview


An earlier issue of Poetry Information has a short article on Torrance by Barry MacSweeney.

MacSweeney on Torrance



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