Paul Eric Howlett

The Bedfordshire Boy (2022)


Author photo

Waterloo Press is delighted to be championing Paul Eric Howlett’s poetry, that, written over a number of years, suggest a life-story, which, with very few exceptions, has been denied an outlet until now.

Poems within The Bedfordshire Boy experiment with, and challenge, their audience to see whether straightforward language and emotions have their part to play in the literature of the present age, echoing in the process the words of Thomas Hardy: ‘… the road to a true philosophy of life seems to lie in humbly recording diverse readings of its phenomena as they are forced upon us by chance and change.’

“…poetics of remarkable range and a power that should have been discovered long ago. The learning and understanding of poetic strategies bespeak someone who travelled the 1960s taking everything in and refusing the blandishments of the late 1970s through the millennium […] Howlett has to be judged by the highest standards. His work singularly creates its own world, and there’s no poet quite like him. Yes, Hill looms, but Howlett’s more playful, more various in a single collection, and more tender. There’s no doubt that Howlett’s best work already bears comparison with Hill, and few others unless one invokes very different poets like Roy Fisher.”

Simon Jenner, Director, Waterloo Press

“I like the technical wizardry of the poems…Many of them have an astringency that reminds one a bit of Basil Bunting, but this contrasts movingly with the more expansive poems, like the one beginning ‘The broad and white evenings come’. Generally, there’s a really good ear and eye at work: ‘Return to Lecton’ resonates with a Geoffrey Hill-ish acerbity, and none the worse for that.”

Gareth Reeves, author of Listening In and Nuncle Music

ISBN: 978-1-915241-09-2 Category: Tag:

Praise and Poems

The Bedfordshire Boy ranges from a little-known corner of Bedfordshire to the Lake District and elsewhere a timely collection of Paul Eric Howlett’s previous manuscript works in the form of ‘One Beginning’ and ‘Return to Lecton’ now rightly taking their prominent place on the high hill.

The poems are a reflection of Time, witnessed publicly, by a civil servant, kitchen porter, clerk, and warehouseman, all of whom the poet once was; and known privately in the fulfilled dream found in a number of love poems.

Extending from the tethering of a localised imagination, that happens to take in Hill, Stramm, Stadler, Holderlin and much of modernist European traditions elegiac reach – Anglo-Saxon poems bone-thread their way through the ‘One Beginning’ section, the overall effect offers a poetry for our own times.



These, Sunday-week people,

Couple traffic, bulging

Beaches, distress themselves

If clouds come.


These, the gutters of rain

Drain beside a keen kerb,

Or familiar doorways

Hang like statues.


These, at night’s glittering,

Arm in arm with patience,

Raise the light siege, and take

Gentry airs.

Additional information

Dimensions 16 × 2 × 23 cm

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