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Anthony Howell


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1968-9:                 Sergei de Diaghileff - long poem - Turret Books.


1969:                    Inside the Castle - poems - Barrie & Rockliff, The Cresset Press.


1970:                    Imruil - free translation from pre-Islamic Arabic - Barrie & Rockliff .


1971:                    Edited Erotic Lyrics - anthology - for Studio Vista, London.


1972:                    Femina Deserta - poem - Softly Loudly Books, London.


1975:                    Oslo: a Tantric Ode - book-length poem - Calder & Boyars, London.

                            Elements of Performance Art - textbook for performance artists - co-authored

                                 with Fiona Templeton, Ting Books, London.  


1976:                    The Mekon - poem - The Many Press, London.


1983:                    Notions of a Mirror - poems - Anvil Press Poetry, London.


1984:                    Winter's not Gone - poems - The Many Press, London.


1986:                    Why I may never see the Walls of China - poems - Anvil Press Poetry, London.

                            In the Company of Others - novel - Marion Boyars, London.


1990:                    Howell's Law - poems - Anvil Press Poetry,  London.


1992:                    Edited and wrote introduction to Near Calvary - Selected Poems of Nicholas

                                Lafitte  -  The Many Press, London.


1995:                    First Time in Japan - poems - Anvil Press Poetry, London.


1999:                    The Analysis of Performance Art - Harwood Academic Publishers (Routledge) London.

                            Sonnets - Grey Suit, London.


2000                     Serbian Sturgeon: Journal of a visit to Belgrade - Harwood Academic Publishers

                                (Routledge), London.

                            Selected Poems, Anvil, London.

                            Spending: Poems, Menard, London.


2003                     Dancers in Daylight - Poems 1995-2002 - Anvil Press Poetry, London, 2003


2006                     Homage to Morandi – play script – text by A.H.- The Theatre of Mistakes (1980)

                               - Grey Suit Editions, London

                            Oblivion – novel – Grey Suit Editions, London


2007                    Statius: Silvae - Translations and Versions from the Latin - with Bill Shepherd- 

                            Anvil Press Poetry.

                           Going play script – text by A.H. and Fiona Templeton - The Theatre of Mistakes (1976)

                             – Grey Suit Editions, London


2009                    The Ogre’s Wife – poems – Anvil, London


Forthcoming:        Plague Lands and other poems by Fawzi Karim: versions by AH – Carcanet,



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Bio Note:

Anthony Howell is a published poet and novelist, and has conducted many creative writing workshops.  He also edited Grey Suit - a magazine published as a vhs videotape which featured readings by John Ashbery, F.T. Prince, Les Murray, Hugo Williams and Cris Cheek - among others.  He organised several poetry events in Cardiff in the 90s.  He is an accomplished and entertaining reader of his own poetry.  He has published many volumes of poetry, mainly with Anvil Press Poetry, and his novel, In the Company of Others - concerning a group of classical dancers doing class - was published by Marion Boyars and was well received.


Anthony Howell was born in 1945.   A former dancer with the Royal Ballet (1966), he has always been as active in literature as he has been in movement.  His first collection of poems, Inside the Castle, was published in 1969.  In 1973, he was invited to join the Program for International Writers at the University of Iowa.   He has received numerous awards and bursaries, among them a £5000 writer's award from the Welsh Arts Council.  He was short-listed for a Paul Hamlyn Award, a few years ago, receiving £500, and also  for an Arts Council of England writer's bursary.  Recently he has become immersed in dancing the tango, and in 2001 he received a grant of £6000 from London Arts to develop his tango ability.  He then spent some three months in Buenos Aires, contributing a piece on his experiences to the Times Literary Supplement and another to The Buenos Aires Tribune.  Many of his poems concern dancing, and his new novel OBLIVION is a thriller set in the world of the tango.

Critical Comments

'The best of Ashbery's English disciples is without doubt Anthony Howell, and his volume Notions of a Mirror deserves the attention of anyone who cares for poetry at all.' - ROBERT NYE in The Times

'[He offers] so much good poetry that one is astonished that Howell's name is not better known. He has a finely attuned eye and ear ... If Howell were only a descriptive writer, that would be refreshing; but he is a thinker too, and the scaffolding of reason he erects raises his poems to distinction.' - JOHN GREENING in Poetry Review

'His new collection is long and intense, but at no time difficult to follow. Most of the poems celebrate travel and the uniqueness of places, and they include the best poetic account I've read of the ecstatic miseries of air travel ... Howell has style to spare and is happily unclassifiable.' - PETER PORTER in The Observer

'I read it ['Boxing the Cleveland'] all of four times, gluttonously, and have memorized whole chunks ... The poem surprises with its depths - but all the poems in Howell's Law are surprising in some way . . .' - SYLVIA KANTARIS in Poetry Review

'Well-made yet open-ended poems on a bewildering variety of themes ... ['Boxing the Cleveland'] is one of the most splendidly sweatily physical poems I have read for years.' - ROBERT NYE in The Times

'Curiously strong...' - JOHN ASHBERY  in PN Review

'In his elegance, his clarity of eye and mind, his quickness and range of reference, and his wit, Howell is a constantly rewarding read. Always entertaining and thought- provoking, he can also engage the emotions. Warmly recommended.' - GLYN PURSGLOVE  in New Welsh Review


'It is possible to overstress the similarities between one writer and another.  Howell, however, courts such an approach - not because he is an emulator, rather that he is an eclectic original' - PETER READING in The Times Literary Supplement




It was only later
That she didn't want to be anywhere,
When, wherever she was,
She wanted to be driven somewhere else.
If she stayed with them
She wanted so to be with him.
But if she left and went to stay with him
Then she longed to be with them.

Helpless, yet intolerant
Of help at either end,
She had already ceased
To admit that she would cease.
Her best friend
Had just been to visit her.
She sighed for him and said
That she wished that he would visit her.

And later, later she sat,
Half in, half out of the seat,
Either getting into the car
Or getting out of it.


Her voice has made love to my ear.
The nightingales heard and fell silent.
I wanted to swallow her voice.
Now I've a thirst for her breath.

Giving her up would be death.
Her voice has made love to my ear.
Hers is the air of my choice.
The nightingales heard and fell silent.


The sight of old women near death is beginning to prey on my mind.
Each of us must die alone, abandoned, no one can come with us,
Even if someone is holding onto a hand, life ebbs from it, and
A person always goes from life alone.  But what of the old woman
Clothed in her peasant's black, hunched over herself by the
Pleskevitza stall?   As you get more feeble, fainter,
You hunch over more and more, bent around your knees like that,
And in the end only your back can be seen, your forehead
Somewhere beneath it, pressed against the pavement, with a
Cardboard box in front of it, as people queue for their meaty burgers,
Hot off the grill, wrapped in delicious tortilla-style bread;
And you can add anything you like from the little boxes there:
Crushed paprika, onions, chives, chopped cabbage, chopped carrot,
Chopped beetroot, mustard, ketchup, and a simply delicious
Mixture of sour cheese and paprika, which oozes out all over the
Place as you bite into your well-stuffed tortilla and pleskevitza.


Yesterday they chose her curtain rail.
He was allowed to bear it out of Homebase.
Isn't he her knight in shining armour?

Finding it too short, he took it back,
Exchanged it for a longer lance, or rather
Two in one more pricey plastic pack.

These will need a double screw between them.
She isn't screwing him.  This afternoon,
Having secured a surreptitious key,

He sneaks inside her new house with his builder.
There, upstairs, they assemble and affix
His trophy, which he paid the extra length of.

This ends up cut short and far too high.
Still, they screw the bookcase in her bedroom
To the wall just where she wants it - maybe.

Later, when his madness is brought home to him,
He gets drunk on the cognac meant for her,
Makes horrible apologies, then snaps

Everything, undoing all their screwing.
Lies on the sofa dully after that,
Pierced by the lance of guilt.


When you have done with being a girl
Please come to me, and if you are ever
Ample and womanly, let me be tender.
Though you are just a landscape to me,
Loved, but far away, thinking of you
Fills me still with so much warmth
And friendliness.  I need to feel
The rasp again of your sardonic self.
My craving for reunion matches
Your desire to keep us well apart.
How horrid I have been to you.
But I was only desperate to
Find some way of enchanting you.
Once you seemed quite fond of me,
And now perhaps you feel that I'm
Some nasty sort of glue.  But that's untrue.
I shan't conjecture anything of you.


"My mouth never tries."
An indomitable friend
Tells me why she cannot be
My naked love again.

Pulse oximeters network
Through connectors
To my mother's mask
Below this frigging sign.


"So when one wing can make no way
Two joynéd can themselves dilate."
                                        Lord Herbert of Cherbury

Hung with small bells, his Pompeian charm
Comes with one wing and dangles down,
Called to its turns by the whim of the air.

This haunted noon, strung from a pine,
It practically refuses to revolve at all,
Setting off tremors that would register

Only on the tympanum of a hare;
And yet its less than perceptible chime
Touches him with an imaginary feather,

Inching arousal out of its shell
As far as the long slow head of the snail
Whose rapture is a sort of bradyseism.


Ursula works at a writers' cafe
In Regensburg - where they've chosen to offer
Literature, dished up with literary food
To suit the occasion - she does the cooking:
I can see her seasoning a bird.

Here, where the vamps with overwrought features
Have been replaced by tourists, and teachers,
Ursula follows you fluently, slick
As anything coating these Argentine reaches.
Cradled now, she sighs as if asleep.

Only the melody happens to matter;
Lengthens the beats of your newly wed hearts.
But Ursula, Christ, it's like dancing with butter.
You're holding a girl who melts in your arms,
Meets another partner and departs.

Each of us feels he's already inside her,
Then the sensation is over, not done;
It would be something to offer an arm
And walk her home through a concretized dawn,
Nicely basted as she'd be by then:

Drenched in a seasoning of her own making;
Flavoured by the fronts of other men.


Common to reach out and up, but surprise in a minor key
Is the gift of these weeping trees. Tumbling from the sky,
The maverick beech or the willow displays a peculiar
Tendency downwards, pitches its tent or settles its voluminous
Crinoline below it. Such enclosures provide
Antidotes to open space; creating ideal places
At the fringes of a lawn: trees which have learnt to sigh;
Saturnine exponents of a gloom to be desired,
For those with actual lives share at least the thrill
Of hiding in their richly sheltered recesses:
Memories of musk within some ponderous bell.
Several must recall their compliant debut
Within the intimate heart of a rhododendron thicket.
You should have been fielding but somehow
Got in too deep with your friend to remain
Part of the match at all.  Lost in an amorous mountain;
The beech cascading over the bush; the bush containing you
And I guess egging you on with its external trumpery
Inviting a private earthiness.  Oh there was sadness of course
At it's being done, but Paradise partakes of a similar melancholy;
So much sweeter, surely, than a merely upright joy.

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Anthony Howell's Sonnets - (ISBN 1 903006 00 7)  published by Grey Suit Editions: available from

33 Holcombe Road, N17 9AS   £3.50 + £1 postage.

Howell has also published Spending: Poems - (ISBN 0 874320 27 6) - published by Menard Medames - a book of erotic poetry with fine illustrations by the artist Dilys Bidewell. Spending is a meticulously wrought collection concerned with sexuality, interspersed with drawings which run parallel to the text without illustrating it.  The poems are highly charged - as much by the psychological tension of intercourse as by the allure of the acts described.  What is made explicit is the mood of the event, its sourness as much as its sweetness, with the poems spanning the diapason of these intimacies.  


For details check out publications.