Aesopean: with eight woodcuts by Alan Dixon
|Author||R A White|
|Date Published||28th June 2022|
W.D. Jackson’s Aesopean consists of two self-contained sections of Opus 1 – the (as yet unfinished) first part of his work-in-progress, Then and Now.
The third part, Opus 3, was published first and was one of Frederic Raphael’s 2019 TLS Books of the Year. Raphael saluted Shoestring for taking on a book of this sort which (at 494 pp.) “no sales-conscious mainstream publisher would dare to”. The book was reviewed in Poetry Nation Review 253 by Chris McCully, who wrote:
“Engaging with Jackson’s work is in itself a literate education. It is also a philosophical one: there is a seriousness … which pushes almost all of his work in the direction of a further engagement with ethics… Taken as whole, [the book] is important work. I have come across nothing like it. [One’s] engagement is amply rewarded: Jackson’s metrical and lexical skill is often as entertaining as his thought is profound… He is a master of prosodic structure. Like some of his colleagues, Villon, Boccaccio and Chaucer, Jackson is able to align a highly constrained line with the cadences of the spoken voice…”
W.D. Jackson was born in Liverpool in 1947. He studied at Oxford, and has lived in Italy and South Germany since 1972.
Alan Dixon’s woodcut on the front cover was quite likely his first – exhibited in 1960 at a print exhibition in the AIA Gallery. Shoestring Press published his 73 Woodcuts in 2011 and an exhibition of prints at the Redfern Gallery was held to coincide with the launch there of his most recent collection of poems, The Wall Dancer, Shoestring Press, 2017. His first collection was published by the Fortune Press in 1964. Others, including The Seaweed’s Secret, twenty of his poems by Max Jacob, have been published by Poet & Printer, Redbeck Press, Spectacular Diseases, and Shoestring Press. He was born in Waterloo, Lancashire, in 1936.