Andy Brown is Director of the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. Originally he studied ecology, but is now a poet, a literary academic, and a contributing editor to The Kenyon Review. Previously, he was a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation’s creative writing courses at Totleigh Barton. His most recent books are Fall of the Rebel Angels: poems 1996-2006 and a forthcoming book of poems, Goose Music, written in collaboration with poet and author, John Burnside (both Salt Publications).
Prose poetry has figured in each of his collections, and he has a single volume entirely dedicated to the genre, Hunting the Kinnayas (Stride, 2004). In his prose poetry, Brown ranges through several of the ‘styles’ associated with the form: from an oriental-inspired minimalism, to a more recognizably European tradition. John Burnside has observed, “his work demonstrates that there need be no barriers in poetry; that the philosophical, the lyrical and the playful can be combined in work of assured and generous vision.”
Brown’s background in ecology infuses his landscapes and settings, the issues he raises and, often, the very focus of his texts. This abiding fascination with the minutiae of the natural world and mankind’s perspectives – how we name, observe and catalogue them – gives words an increased weight and impact. Each word is selected: plucked like the choicest apple and presented as if we could admire a microcosm of ridges and fibres within it.
For a genre that is often described as ‘subversive’, Brown shows that nature itself, simple yet complex, is eminently equal to the prose poem’s rich language of precision.
Hunting the Kinnayas, Stride Books, Devoran, 2004
Fall of the Rebel Angels: Poems 1996-06, Salt Publishing, Cambridge, 2006
Goose Music, with John Burnside, Salt Publishing, Cambridge, 2007
Andy Brown’s personal page at Salt Publications
Andy Brown’s personal website