Peter Abbs

Peter Abbs

Peter Abbs has published eleven volumes of poetry including most recently, The Flowering of Flint and Voyaging Out. The poetry ranges from intimate autobiography to myth, from the celebration of the spirit of place - Norfolk, Wales, Sussex, Greece - to a preoccupation with philosophical questing. He is committed to the metaphysical imagination and the taut cadence. The American poet and critic, Dana Gioia, formerly chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, describes him as one of the rarest of writers, a philosophical poet with a genuine lyric gift.

He writes passionately on culture, art and what he terms a conservationist aesthetic. His last book, Against the Flow, described by The Economist as an incendiary fire bomb, launched a sustained attack on the narrow pragmatic confines of contemporary schooling. It affirmed the primacy of the ethical and aesthetic: the abiding place of the good, the true and the beautiful. The Story of the Self  is now one of his main projects. Ranging across philosophy, autobiography and literature, the work begins with the Greek poet Sappho and will end with the present moment. It offers a deep archaeology of the self, an archaeology much needed to confront our current state of postmodern dispossession and anomie. 

Peter Abbs is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Sussex, Poetry Editor of the ecological magazine Resurgence and a Visiting Fellow at the Aegean Center of Fine Arts.