Ken Bolton’s first book, Four Poems, has just been reissued by Little Esther. When it first appeared with Sea Cruise Books in 1977 it was A4 sized with a hand coloured cover. Right from the beginning Ken wasn’t about to ‘compete’ with the Sons of Rimbaud who were mostly aiming at tomes that seemed more impressive as both physical objects and intellectual exercises. It is unusually coherent for a first volume as the re-release shows us well, but at the time it mightn’t have disturbed the macho contingent gathered around New Poetry all that much, even as they grasped themselves at the livre composée. The title refers to Ashbery’s Three Poems though the work itself sees Ashbery through the eyes of the second generation New Yorkers. There’s a process, an argument, going on here however that we now recognise as Bolton’s alone.