Donald Britton died young but left behind poetry of secretive beauty

Donald-britton-bwPeter Moskowitz at Poetry Magazine:

Britton’s single volume of poetry, Italy, was published by Little Caesar Press in 1981. The book probably wouldn’t have reached beyond Britton’s small coterie of friends were it not for support from a few devotees of gay poetry. As it was, his friends recall that Italy sold only about 750 copies and got a negative review in the Village Voice. In the early 2000s, the poet Reginald Shepherdbegan collecting Britton’s unpublished works, some of which existed as letters to friends. When Shepherd died in 2008, leaving the book unfinished, poet and editor Philip Clark took up the project. In 2016, he published a second volume of Britton’s work, In the Empire of the Air, which includes Italy and dozens of unpublished works. The book is slim, a little over 100 pages, and most of the poems in it are less than a page long.

Britton’s poems are tight and neat, as if edited with a scalpel. He told friends he wanted his work to be universal and to speak to anyone. In contrast to the sometimes flamboyant self-disclosure of many of his contemporaries, his poems offer little insight into his life, who he was, or what made him tick.

more here.