ANTHONY SHAW COLLECTION


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POET'S CHOICE

1 MAY TO 31 OCTOBER 2006


Ewen Henderson, whose pots and paintings form such a large part of Anthony Shaw's distinguished collection, was a dear friend of mine. Bryan Illsley, painter and sculptor (also handsomely represented here) is another. Their position of esteem in Anthony's heart made it almost inevitable that I would admire his collection when I first saw it, or a significant portion of it, soon after its unveiling at 11 Billing Place. Indeed, I was knocked over. If I had been able to put together the collection of my dreams, from the period of production that has plainly had Anthony under its spell, this was very much what it would have looked like.

No doubt envy gives me more entitlement to make this Poet's Choice, than the fact that I have published a few volumes of poetry. But I have also edited anthologies, and the anthologist's task of selecting poems and arranging them so that each one strikes up a dialogue, or argument, with its neighbours seems to me a reasonable analogy for what Anthony has asked me to do here. I hope the results, which include contributions from such diverse, though not necessarily disagreeing, voices as Gillian Lowndes, Sidney Tustin, Sara Radstone, Jim Malone, Gordon Baldwin and David Garland, are found to be lively and provocative.

Christopher Reid
May 2006

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