3 JUNE 1972, Page 17



Tambimuttu gives the impression of having made as many comebacks on the London scene as Dorothy Squires; but now he seems to be firmly established as Director and guiding light of the Lyrebird Press, a new imprint devoted to publishing poetry, prose and belles lettres. As founder and editor of Poetry London, Tambimuttu discovered and promoted some of the best new poets of the 'forties, and he is often to be seen in photographs of cosy gatherings of literary figures of the time, standing somewhere to the left of T. S. Eliot.

Prominently displayed in the publicity material for the Lyrebird Press is Edith Sitwell's anguished letter to Tambimuttu begging him to come back to London to rescue them all from the contemporary trash that was being passed off as poetry. This is as urgent an appeal today and one hopes that the Lyrebird Press will be able to make a successful response — but one can't help noticing that the three bestknown poets on their summer and autumn list are David Gascoyne, Anne Ridler and Kathleen Raine, and the Gascoyne and one of the Raine volumes, Stolen Flowers, were actually published by Tambimuttu in the Poetry London days. Nevertheless there are volumes of new verse by Raine and George Barker to come; and the first book he is publishing is undoubtedly up-to-theminute — Poems from Banglcz Desh.

One of the more successful poets Tambimuttu had dealings with was Dylan Thomas, who is a standing rebuke to anyone who believes that poetry is a necessarily unprofitable activity. The incoming monies from the Thomas estate are still running at £20,000 a year, mostly from his Collected Poems and Under Milk Wood, and mostly coming from the States.

Finally Eric Partridge, as a timely letter to the Editor from Routledge points out, cannot have been turning in his grave as Christopher Hudson declared in a recent review of the Underground Dictionary, because he hasn't yet dug it.