The Garden Prospect
A poet his entire life, the world saw in Peter Yates an outstanding critic of contemporary music, the author of An Amateur at the Keyboard (1964) and Twentieth Century Music (1967). His articles appeared regularly in Arts and Architecture as well as elsewhere, while his poems, rare as the morel, were as hard to find even for the most avid. One short book some thirty years ago, a scattering of individual poems in magazines, that was all we had to attest publicly for the growth and development of this singular voice. The personal meditation and the lyric reflection enjoy little attention these days and less expertise, while for Peter Yates they were not only his garden and its prospect, but their continued cultivation.
The freshness and brilliant independence that marked his musical criticism and his defence of form in 20th century art are there to be discovered in these poems. And too, the tenderness and vulnerability displayed by an eager though never harassed mind weeding a patch in the frontiers of our American culture. The problems Peter Yates's poetry evokes find neither solutions nor bland responses from him, rather they become his own muse in their constant redefining yet touching investigation of order. One man's creation and one creation's man, this is the vista; the prospect is to allow uncertainty, noise and doubt a place in the garden this careful poet attended.