The Achievement of Randall Swingler

in Critical Survey

Randall Swingler was a poet in a very English literary tradition. He was the last of the Georgian poets, writing lovingly about the English countryside long after the Modernist urbanisation of poetry. He believed that poetry was the voice of the people. And he was the inheritor and the bearer of a radical vision of England rooted in the English rural landscape and the common people. Standing in direct line of descent from Langland, Winstanley, Milton, Blake, Morris and Edward Thomas, he was a late poet of Old Dissent, combining a love of the English countryside with Christian fellowship and an English Puritan’s hatred of privilege and power, property and money. For Randall Swingler, poetry had a moral and a political urgency, a responsibility to testify against cant and hypocrisy, and to bear witness to a utopian vision of an open-shirted, classless Commonwealth which would one day liberate human living, loving and creativity.