Ivor Treby, Poems 2007–2012

Edited by
John Dixon

Ivor Treby was an early gay literary activist who first published his poems in the late 1970s and early 1980s in small gay magazines in the UK, USA and Australia, where he also gave readings at gay venues. He wrote four volumes of poetry, but gave up to concentrate on research into Michael Field, the pseudonym of the lesbian poets, Edith Cooper and Katherine Bradley. Ivor resumed writing in 2007 and at his death in 2012 left 68 poems, published here for the first time, with an introduction by John Dixon.

Ivor Treby was a pioneering gay activist and an early advocate of the importance of “gay literature”, that is to say, fiction and poetry written by openly gay writers for a gay audience. This was one of the ways in which we created a sense both of a community and of a culture. His was a distinctive voice, and we feel its loss.’ Peter Scott-Presland, author of the forthcoming Amicable Warriors, the official history of the CHE.

‘Treby was a caustic jester, known for his prolific light verse. It rhymed because he wanted it to be read out loud, and it was light in tone because he wanted it to be read. But don’t be deceived by the lightness. His knowledge was weighty and his themes were serious.’ – Gregory Woods, poet, and former Professor of Gay & Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University.

Physical copy

Post to:
then
Book Specification: 
ISBN: 
978 1 904585 70 1
Paperback
192 pages
£7.99
Published: 
February, 2014

Ivor Treby (1933–2012) was one of the very first UK gay literary activists. He had approaching 400 poems in print in anthologies, magazines and journals worldwide, and gave readings in Rotterdam, San Francisco, Houston, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as in London at the Oval House, the Cockpit Theatre, Motley College, the ICA, the Jermyn Street Theatre, and the Poetry Society. In 1984 Brilliance Books issued a set of ten poem cards The verse-cycle Woman with Camellias was performed by Jane Manning and the Endymion Ensemble (music by Robin Bone) in St James’s Church during the 1985 Piccadilly Festival. There are six published collections (most recently Blanche's Last Fling 2006), and five books on the Victorian poet (actually lesbian couple) Michael Field (most recently Binary Star 2006). After a ten year silence he was writing again towards the end of his life.

John Dixon has published a collection of short stories The Carrier Bag, which includes the Bridport Prize-winning title story. He also won a prize from the Chorley Writers' Circle for an online story. Other stories have appeared in the anthologies People Your Mother Warned You About, The Best of Gazebo and Eros at Large. His poems have appeared in Chroma, Envoi, Iota etc and the anthologies Oysters and Pearls and Coming Clean. His first collection of poems, Seeking, Finding, Losing, was published in 2011; another, Smut and Nonsense, is due in 2015. He has also edited Poems 2007-2012 by Ivor Treby and Fiction in Libraries for the Library Association, and co-edited stories and memoirs by his parents. His novel Push Harder Mummy, I Want to Come Out is due for publication Spring 2015.

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