THE HOLLOW PLACES
Poems by I. P. Taylor
I. P. Taylor was born in 1946 at Shipley in West Yorkshire. He was educated at North Yorkshire Grammar School and subsequently worked in a variety of ‘outsider’ jobs, including night porter, car park attendant, and youth hostel warden. He has also been a gardener, farm worker, millhand and clerk as well as working for a year as an unsuccessful smallholder. He has lived in London, the Lake District, Wales and Yorkshire. He has had his poems published regularly in leading magazines, and won first prize in the 1975 Stroud Festival International Poetry Competition. He was also the winner of the Poetry Society’s 1977 Greenwood Prize and 1st prize in the Helix (Austrailia) International Poetry Competition in 1979. A selection of his work was published in A Poetry Quintet (Gollancz, 1976). A poetry sequence The Grip (Oasis Books, 1978) was followed by a booklet entitled The Passion (Sceptre Press, 1979).
’The poems in this collection, with only a couple of exceptions, are located within a radius of twenty miles from my home on the Yorkshire Wolds. Some of the poems are outcries against tyranny and exploitation. Others are mediations on loss; of sanity, of livelihood, of identity, of a place in society which is honest and open. Many are both. Nearly all are concerned with people who are trapped – by illness, by temperamental pre-disposition, by others more ruthless or more articulate – in circumstances from which there is no hope of release. Or, if there is hope, it exists beyond the constraints of cultural and moral conditioning, beyond the mind’s indoctrination.
The collection moves from the past to the present: from poems centred in an historical context, built up from weeks of research in libraries and archives, to life now in the same locality. One small corner of North Yorkshire is the setting that I slowly grew to see as my particular microcosm, in which man struggles with his burdens. I feel that the poem “The Hollow Places” expresses most explicitly the essential preoccupation of the collection: the emptiness and otherness behind man’s every action. It is fitting, therefore, that this poem should give its title to the volume as a whole.’
I. P. Taylor
Ironstone Miners 1874
They wound up the path,
their silence broken only
by their stud’s crush – their hate
riddling the hillside.
The lockout had tightened
new sinews: they tensed
as the gates swung back.
They stepped from dark to dark,
treading the swilling passages
three miles to the drift. Returning,
drenched, into the blizzards grip,
their clothes were fastened to them
like a curse.
Around the stoves, they sliced
their boots off with their knives
before the frosts teeth met.
The silence still held steady.
The eyes pitched into the flames.
THE HOLLOW PLACES
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: drawing of Wharram Percy by Alan Sorrell by kind permission of The Illustrated London News Picture Library.
Publication: AUTUMN 1980 (44 pages laminated paperback)