The poetry of Miles Burrows was discovered in 1966 when Tom Maschler, already an editor at Cape, heard him give a public reading in London. Cape published him. After that, Burrows continued his life in many walks, most of them medical. Having studied Greats at Oxford, he determined to become an intellectual and learned to smoke black Russian cigarettes, reviewing occasionally for the New Statesman. He worked as a GP and then as a psychiatrist. He was briefly a trawlerman, then a doctor in the New Guinea Highlands, in the American Hospital for Hmong tribe refugees on the Thai-Laos border, in a Catholic mission Hospital in Eastern Taiwan, in the Middle East and in Suffolk.
This Collected Poems is a rich harvest from the decades between 1966 and 2021. The poems are primarily conversational. The poet is keen to get into exclusive places he has no right to be – clubs, social strata, religions. Much of the adventure, the disrupted narrative, has to do with being out of place. Its long narratives – work as a trawlerman in Iceland, a traditional funeral in Taiwan – open on worlds that are made vertiginously real.