The London Review of Books has reviewed Poems Written Abroad: The Lilly Library Manuscript by Stephen Spender and edited by Christoph Irmscher.
There are a few intimations of the poet he would become: Christopher Irmscher in his excellent introduction notices the way the images bump against one another ‘like a badly made puzzle’, and also ‘the pervasive feeling that somewhere someone is having a more authentic experience’. He also quotes from an early sonnet in which Spender declares, ‘My eyes scan early that far-off bird/Futurity,’ which isn’t great but perhaps anticipates the prospective cast of many of his most memorable later verses. The best line by far comes in an otherwise undistinguished poem called ‘Consolation of Dust’ in which Spender refers to ‘the ragged Eden of my mind’.
Read the full review from the London Review of Books.