Peter Riley

Peter Riley

About Peter Riley

Peter Riley is a contemporary English poet and editor. Riley is known as a Cambridge poet, part of the group loosely associated with J. H. Prynne which today is acknowledged as an important center of innovative poetry in the United Kingdom. Riley was an editor and major contributor to The English Intelligencer. He is the author of 10 books of poetry, and many small-press booklets. He is also the current poetry editor of the Fortnightly Review and a recipient of the Cholmondeley Award in 2012 for achievement and distinction in poetry.
He has written studies of Jack Spicer, T. F. Powys, improvised music, poetry, lead mines, burial mounds, village carols and Transylvanian string bands, and has published two books of translations from the French poet Lorand Gaspar. He has been an advocate for neglected British poets from the 1930s and 1940s, in particular Nicholas Moore (1918–1986), and he has edited several posthumous books of Moore's.
In the 1970s Riley was an important early promoter of and advocate for British free improvisation, and the noted guitarist Derek Bailey was a lifelong friend; two of Bailey's late solo albums, Takes Fakes & Dead She Dances and Poetry and Playing, contain tracks of Bailey playing guitar while reading aloud from Riley's poetry. Several books of Riley's from this period are responses to free jazz and free improvisation. This habit of responding to music in his poetry has continued in more recent work, such as the Reader/Author/Lecture series (with poems for or after Syd Barrett, Arnold Schoenberg, John Sheppard and others) and his more recent books concerning music encountered on his travels in Eastern Europe.
Riley was the subject of an essay collection, The Poetry of Peter Riley (The Gig, 1999/2000) and a poetry festschrift, April Eye (Infernal Methods, 2000).

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