Francis Webb’s Collected Poems
Between 1948 and 1964 Francis Webb published five books of verse, A Drum for Ben Boyd (1948), Leichhardt in Theatre (1952), Birthday (1953), Socrates (1961) and The Ghost of the Cock (1964). With the exception of Birthday, which was privately printed, the other books were published by Angus and Robertson and that firm also undertook the distribution of Birthday. Webb wrote little poetry after The Ghost of the Cock and by mid-1967 his health had deteriorated to such an extent that it was feared he might soon cease writing altogether. At about this time proposals for the publication of a collected edition of Webb's work were put forward, the outcome being that Angus and Robertson decided to bring out a Collected Poems, 'not too quickly', towards the end of 1968, with Douglas Stewart as general editor. The idea was just to publish the poems from the various books, in the order of the books, but there being doubts at this stage (July, 1967) as to whether Webb would be capable of making any decisions himself regarding the poems, permission to go ahead with the book was sought from his sister.
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