Jim Burns


Paperback 6" x 9" 230pp 

ISBN  978-0-913144-12-8  published March 2020

It’s difficult to get away from Paris when writing about art, and several reviews in this collection inevitably refer to the city, though not only for art but also for the cafés, cabarets and other locations where artists and writers met to socialise. Paris wasn’t the only place where such activity happened, so London, Berlin, New York, and several other cities also come into view. As a background to what went on artistically in Paris there is a review of a book dealing with the “vice, crime and poverty” which shows that it was all there while the painters and poets and their patrons carried  on their conversation. This isn’t to single out Paris for its perversities, and the review of  writing from nineteenth century Prague shows that prostitution and its perils thrived there.

As before, I’ve taken the liberty of including a handful of short prose pieces. They’re not stories, in the strict sense of the word, and perhaps “sketches” best describes them? And there are a couple of articles about forgotten individuals from the world of jazz. The period they came from, the mid and late-1940s into the early-1950s, had its influence on me. As Gilbert Sorrentino put it, “Bop, for me, was the entrance into the general world of culture”.   


Comments on previous collections:

“This collection of essays and reviews is an entertaining homage to bohemia by one of its own. Jim Burns – a veteran fringe poet recently celebrated in these pages as `an offbeat prowler’ – takes a `personal’ look at various post-Second World War writers, artists, musicians and patrons whose talents and innovations have been obscured by the glare of their more famous contemporaries.”

                                                                                                                          Times Literary Supplement

“This seventh collection of essays and reviews by poet and editor Jim Burns reinforces his reputation as a curator of neglected culture, an archivist of unremembered events and an advocate of overlooked artists. It includes pieces on unjustly ignored poets, forgotten jazz musicians, the secret state and the short-lived but influential `little magazines’ of the post-war era……Burns’s infectious passion is moderated by his critical rigour.”

                                                                                                                           Morning Star

“If there is anyone who knows who more than Burns about 20th century small presses, journals, now-forgotten writers, artists and jazz musicians I have yet to meet them. I can’t be the only person for whom his collections of essays on the byways of modern literature etc. form a vade mecum.”


“What Jim Burns seems to do very well is dust off the years from forgotten figures, the neglected, the overlooked, even those who never truly reached any level of recognition.  Burns see in many of them qualities that have been missed.”

                                                                                                                            Beat Scene

“Burns is good at contextualisation and uncovering neglected sources in order to examine received perceptions.”



St Ives : The Art and the Artists

Creative Tensions : The Penwith Society

Arthur Caddick

Impressionism in the Age of Industry

Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec

Van Gogh in 50 Paintings

Colour and Light: Henri-Edward Cross

The Women Who Inspired London Art

Lotte Laserstein

Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art

Creative Gatherings : Meeting Places of Modernism

Artists Quarter

Provisional Avant-Gardes

The Institutions of Russian Modernism

Darkness: A Cultural History

Whitechapel Noise

Staging Life: The Manchester Playwrights

Street Songs

Tony Roberts: The Taste of My Mornings

Writing from 19th century Prague

Dreamers: When Writers Took Power

The 19th century Underworld

Vice, Crime and Poverty

More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

The Popular Front Novel in Britain 1934-1940

Cold Warriors: Writers and the Cold War

Prague Spring 1968

The Lost Girls : Love, War & Literature

Blitz Writing

Jack Kerouac: Lonesome Traveller

Looking for Kerouac

Underground with the Hippies

Easy Living

Mimeographing Move 1964-1968

London in Verse

New British Poetry 1968-1988

Some Poets

From the Forgotten Forties

Who Remembers Doug Mettome?

The Good Old Days

The Barmaid

Corporal Ollerton

Sweet Saturday Night

On the Scene

The Drifter