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Group, The

A Group Anthology

hobsbaum poets poetry writers

a term denoting both a critical method forming a basis for the meetings of various writers, predominantly poets, and the name by which they came to be known as a loosely coherent movement. Philip Hobsbaum initiated regular gatherings of poets in Cambridge in 1952 for discussions intended to bring F. R. Leavis's principles of textual scrutiny to bear upon their work. In 1955 he convened a similar association of poets in London which became identified as the Group; Hobsbaum was its chairman until 1959, when he was succeeded by Edward Lucie-Smith. Members, who joined at the chairman's invitation, submitted copies of their work for analysis and appraisal by their peers; disciplined experimentation, consciousness of poetry's social dimensions, directness of tone, and imaginative energy were among the qualities upon which a high value was placed, partly in reaction to what members perceived as the arid formalism of the Movement. Notable among the writers concerned were Alan Brownjohn, Martin Bell, Peter Porter, Peter Redgrove, George MacBeth, Fleur Adcock, and B. S. Johnson, whose wide range of styles and thematic preoccupations gave an eclectic character to A Group Anthology (1963), which Hobsbaum and Lucie-Smith edited. In 1965 the Group was more formally constituted as the Writer's Workshop, a development for which Martin Bell was significantly responsible, which met at the Poetry Society's premises in Earls Court. Hobsbaum introduced the Group's principles and practice to a series of meetings he held in Belfast during the early 1960s, which proved of great value to a number of the Ulster poets. As the model for many subsequent forums for emerging writers and in terms of the achievement of some of its members, the Group occupies a position of considerable importance in post-war British poetry.

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