Hidden Treasures



1st August 2016

My new Clare paperback "Hidden Treasures" is now are avalable from me at £6 + £1.50 postage and packing (UK). Not sure how much the postage would be to other parts of the world, but I'm sure I can let you know.  It is also available from Amazon.co.uk ...

From the back-cover introduction: "John Clare was an inveterate scribbler whom, because of his poverty, was forced to write upon whatever came to hand, using ink, pencil or an ink concoction he created himself. Within the Peterborough Archives many of these scraps can be seen: newspaper and parcel labels, old bills, prospectus pages for future books, old account ledgers, as well as exercise books and loose pages ... "

The collection even contains two 'radical' poems I encountered for the first time in the Archives in late June 2016, together with poems and prose Professor Eric Robinson and I have been accumulating for some years.

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REVIEWS

"Hidden Treasures" has / have arrived ! Thank you, Roger.  I thought I'd skim it, to read properly later. But I couldn't put it down.  There are lines and images that may well be familiar.  However, I find the selection so fresh and newly thought-provoking.  So many images just brought me up short.  The shepherd boys "ankle deep in grass" who " print their wild tracks till the dews are gone".  Brilliant !  

Then, in "Solitude" ( which I read as a "walking poem"" ) there are so many wonderful observations and one made me realise again the range of John Clare's imagination.  It encompasses so much. Early on in the poem, the speaker pauses and thinks on "... nature's spells // From the silt picks out the shells ".  Is he contemplating geological age ? Mentioning shepherds, made me realise that if there is anything about modern farming that still connects with Clare's time, it is shepherding, especially at lambing time. 

Reading " Content thy home be mine" was extraordinary at this time, when we have just been reading about the execrable misuse [again] of the Honours system. Uncanny !

"I went to see her" I found unbearably beautiful. It could have been mawkish and sentimental, but it isn't; it's so honest and true.  

So much to enjoy. I hope that "Hidden Treasures" reaches a very wide readership. 

(Norman Goodman)
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What a beautiful read. Thank you so much Roger for the collection of poetry and prose. I was taken to a far away land with the words of Clare - again!  
(Jacqui Cosby)
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I am loving this book! Every time I open it I am enchanted by the words. Thank you for rescuing them and setting them free.
(Pat Blalock)
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'In the Shadows' makes the trilogy complete.

It seems somehow to have been a long time in gestation, but in March 2015 we collected "In the Shadows" from The Fine Book Bindery who have again lovingly created them for us.  Every copy of the limited edition is handmade and hand-finished.  The cherry cover is offset by a grey spine with a gilt title.  This is the third volume in our trilogy.

The three books taken together explore the sensuous nature of Clare's early (pre 1820 poetry in the main) from his own verse and prose.

Book One - The Lovers Meeting - (from 1818) is a reworking by Clare of Ovid's first century erotic poem.   It seems to us very much with Patty in mind. 

Book Two - The Poet in Love - is the very real story of Clare's meeting, courtship of Patty Turner, and then her subsequent pregnancy and their marriage in 1820.

Book Three - In the Shadows - is the story of Clare's largely illusory relationship with Mary Joyce ranging over his whole life.

Both 'Poet' 'and "Shadows' contain newly discovered Clare works and little known poems rejected by his publishers.


The reviews of the books were wonderful, here is Ronnie Blythe :

"I read, and re-read 'The Poet in Love'... it is a delight; beautifully presented and even revolutionary in its demand that we should look at Clare 'passionately and practically'. You have re-instated Patty... and you have dethroned Mary Joyce. The book makes us look at Clare in a fresh way, and this is no easy matter considering the stream of Clare criticism. Anne Lee's illustrations are fascinating - a kind of poetry in themselves."

"So beautiful, such treasures for my John Clare bookcase. They should lie on a table where everyone can see them, pick them up and delight in them. The end-papers themselves are a treat... they really are very beautiful." (Of 'The Poet in Love' and 'The Lovers Meeting)

And from Professor Eric Robinson on 'The Poet in Love': "No one can read this book without learning much of Clare's courtship of Patty during these formative years. It is a very strange story, but it reveals much of the essential character of a poet who had at last been recognised as a very great writer. Roger Rowe and Anne Lee have made an important contribution to Clare studies. And I am pleased to know that more is yet to come from their joint efforts."

Other reviews can be found on our 'reviews' page.

Each book is signed and numbered and is available from me.  Simply send me a message me via my own or the John Clare Poet facebook page, and I will get back to you.

Each book measures 11" x 8"

THE COST?

"The Lovers Meeting' is £30 


"The Poet in Love" is £35 

"In the Shadows" is £35 


Reductions for the Clare Festival 2016:


(TLM & TPIL) - £60

(TLM & ITS) - £60

(TPIL & ITS) - £65

or for all three - £90


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The launch of 'The Lovers Meeting'

The video that was made by the Peterborough Telegraph on the launch of "The Lovers Meeting". Three and a half minutes where Anne and I introduce the book. Still available from me at £35. We have yet to have anything but good reviews, some embarrassingly ecstatic - click on our 'Reviews' page on the right-hand side of this page.

Click here to view : 

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/community/news/new-edition-of-john-clare-poem-published-video-1-5912424

To witness the process of how a book produced by The Fine Book Bindery is made, you can view a recent slideshow on their website.  Our first three books -- "The Lovers Meeting" - "The Poet in Love"  - "In the Shadows" -- have and will be made in exactly this fashion, but we have chosen not have edge guilding, case-making or vellum with our books (I wish!).  It's a wonder to behold to see such skilled craftsmen and women creating a work of art!

http://www.finebinding.co.uk/FOLIOSOC/rubai.html#javascript

The first eight lines of 'The Lovers Meeting'


               [Clare's original manuscript from 1818]

                       Hot was the noon in summers sultry hour
                       The sun then raging with meridian power
                       When I more burning with the scorching heat
                       Of hot desire — lay hid in close retreat
                       Beneath the covert of a secret shade
                       Flush'd “with expectance of the lovley maid”
                       Sweet was the spot no one throughout the grove
                       Was better suited to the sports of Love


                  [Alongside these words, Clare has written in pencil 'Old']

Why are we 'ArbouR EditionS'?


[Anne's photo was taken in Holme Fen in late summer 2013]

To the wild wood shielded sweet
Where the branches branches meet
Verdant on the morning sceen
Oer the carpets spreading green
& the holly branches spread
Spreads an arbour oer my head
As the woodland paths divide
Sweet to put the boughs aside

(from "Just as mornings rosy lass")

Genesis (II)

          Pages being folded and stitched.... and our endpaper for "The Lovers Meeting".