New & Selected Poems
Clothbound hardback with wraparound dust jacket, 322pp
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Green Hauntings draws selections from four of Alan Morrison’s first six full volumes of poetry: The Mansion Gardens (2006), A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (2009), Blaze a Vanishing and The Tall Skies (2013), and Shadows Waltz Haltingly (2015)—published by Paula Brown Publishing, Waterloo Press, and Lapwing Publications, respectively.
The title Green Hauntings alludes to past poems of a younger self returning to ‘haunt’ the present, as well as to the ghostly quality of much of the poet’s earlier more (‘covert’) pastoral, even gothic, poetry—a recrudescent hauntedness which, partly prompted by the 2020-21 pandemic, has resurfaced in his most recent verse, hence the inclusion of some similarly-toned poems as supplemental complement.
‘One of Alan Morrison’s great strengths is his abilty to transmute social history into highly readable long form poems. ‘Cheap soap and woodbline, chip shop and Brylcream’, for example, is his pungent image, after Orwell, of volunteers arriving to fight in 30’s Spain. Richly-drawn mini-portraits of poets, thinkers and social reformers are similarly rewarding, alongside compelling narratives of anxiety and want. Green Hauntings is Morrison’s most recent, and most thoroughgoing, contribution to the literature of progressive imagination and witness.’ Anne Rouse
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'I love Alan Morrison’s poetry which I’ve been reading for some years now and it’s good to be acquainted with his earlier material which I’ve not previously come across... There’s certainly a ghostly aspect to some of the material here, in the sense of an early interest in the gothic but also in Marx’s sense of the spectre of history at the heart of things. Morrison’s referencing is vast and catholic and the way, in his more mature writing, in which he embraces a wide range of reading is both inspiring and somewhat singular, especially for someone of his age. It’s been said before, and I concur with this ‘judgement’ that his work is both ‘Miltonic’ and ‘Joycean’, praise indeed. [...] I love the way that his poetry sings with reference and apparently contradictory imagery. [...] His work is as concerned with the aesthetic as it is with the political and there’s also an element of the autodidact about him which is refreshingly confident and assertive. The fact that his learning is hard-gained doesn’t prohibit a sense of fun and it’s such irrepressible excess which often bubbles over... that really hits the mark with me.' Steve Spence, Litter Magazine
'Alan Morrison writes intense, anxious narratives that need a large, almost novel–like space in which to be fully explored. [...] a semi-romantic outpouring of emotional disturbance and situation full of vivid detail and ornate decoration. In a sometimes dense, multi-layered, colourful, and even Gothic style (so much mental haunting is on show here) Green Hauntings exhibits a powerful blend of intense sorrow with a finally acknowledged affirmation. [...] [There's a] strong influence of Blake, Hardy and Brecht. Basil Bunting came to mind in the lovely music of the final verse of ‘Broomflower.’ Hugh MacDiarmid sprang up on reading ‘The Sphinx and the Harpy.’ We also find poems for T. S. Eliot – ‘His Bitten Smile’ tackles Eliot’s Prufrock. ‘Terpsichorean Rhapsody’ is a paean of praise for the dancer Nijinsky. [...] There are also fine poems for Ivor Gurney, Isaac Rosenberg and an especially moving account of the sad life of Jean Rhys. All rounded off with a dark explosion of poems dedicated to Kierkegaard. [...] Green Hauntings is an intense read. [...] Morrison’s integrity and aspiration is to be applauded.'
Alan Price, The High Window
'The detailed and perceptive foreword by Fran Lock reinforces what I’ve often thought, that Morrison's work should be a set text for English students at university. The very particular use of language and imagery, the treatment of themes such as class, social attitudes and the political atmosphere in the country offer insights rarely found in contemporary English poetry. And I think that the comparisons with Hardy, Joyce and Milton ring true - Hardy especially.' Christopher Moncrieff