Douglas Oliver

(1004 words)

In a radio interview from 1999, Douglas Oliver commented on the separation between mainstream and experimental poetry: “If you write poetry from a different point of view, you run the risk of falling in the gutter”. Unlike the poets with whom he has been associated, such as J.H. Prynne and John Riley, Oliver was not content to write for a relatively small group of like-minded readers. Neither, though, was he prepared to abandon poetic ambition for the sake of popular appeal. Consequently, Oliver charted a paradoxical course through the poetry landscape from the 1970s to the 1990s, often to the frustration of his admirers and fellow writers. Yet, in pursuing this trajectory, Oliver effectively described the ambiguous position of …

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March-Russell, Paul. "Douglas Oliver". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 June 2005
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]