Tony Harrison's poetic career "kicked off" -Broom (2006) says- with THE LOINERS which appeared in 1970.
His early poetry showed a preoccupation with themes such as social inequality, marginalisation, sexuality, colonialism and imperialism. And he honed in on how these were inextricably linked to anger and violence.
His poetry also drew on his experiences as a working class boy who gained a scholarship to Leeds Grammar School. He was thrown, Brown (2006) reflects, into an environment dominated by upper middle class values where his own working class accent and origins were derided as "vulgar" and "low."
Harrison's particular forte however has been producing verse for films, the theatre and TV.
His most famous poem, "V", was pubilshed in 1985 during the year long miners' strike. It was seen as a "direct and open effort" to confront the issues of "alienation, unemployment and social anger" in Thatcher's Britain.
When Channel 4 proposed to screen a film version in 1987 there was outrage from Tory MPs who objected to its language. Right wing Tory MP Gerald Howarth denounced him as "another bolshie poet." Despite the furore -including an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons- the broadcast went ahead.