Last week I announced Reality Street's forthcoming publication of David Bromige's Collected Poems. Work on that essential volume is only just getting going, but in the meantime our other major current project, a collection of Bill Griffiths' poetry from his earliest work up until 1980 - the period that roughly precedes the Salt collection The Mud Fort - has progressed apace.

Bill (pictured above) died in 2007. You can read my obituary of him here. He was a poet of wonderful invention and energy. The last time I spoke to him was when he called round to play the piano in our house (he lived in the North East for the last few years of his life, but his sister lives in Hastings not far from us, and he was down on a visit). However, ironically for such a neglected poet, my last ever sighting of him was on the national TV news being interviewed about his book Pitmatic, a guide to the dialect of North East colliery folk.

Collected Poems 1968-1980 is to be published in collaboration with Alan Halsey's West House Books. And I'm pleased to say Alan has now completed the bulk of the editing, a considerable feat of research and application.

In the words of his introduction: "This span includes the poems [Griffiths] wrote and published during the main period of his Pirate Press imprint (1971-79) and his very active involvement in the Consortium of London Presses at the Poetry Society (1975-77). Some of his best-known work such as Cycles and War W/ Windsor was written during this period, as well as many poems which made fleeting appearances in short-run pamphlets and magazines. While certain poems have been reprinted in later selections others can now only be found in their original ephemeral publications. We hope that this volume will serve as the first step towards a complete edition of one of England’s most inventive poets...."

In manuscript the book runs to just under 300 pages, but I estimate that once typeset it will be around 350-400 pages. Alan and I hope that it will be out in good time to kick off Reality Street's 2010 programme. Stay tuned!