Archives of the Poetry magazine Wave (Sonus Press)

Scope and Content

This collection contains material connected with the poetry magazine Wave published in eight issues by the Sonus Press, 3 Bewick Grove, Hull, between 1970 and 1974. Edward Tarling was both editor and proprietor. The material consists of files of typescripts of the poems printed in Wave, in most cases with covering letters from the poets. Many of these are merely acknowledgements of Tarling's request for material. However, letters from poets such as Kevin Crossley-Holland, Kingsley Amis, Penelope Shuttle, Peter Redgrove, Peter Porter, John Betjeman and Anthony Thwaite show substantial admiration and support for Wave amongst new writers. Of particular value are 16 letters from Anne Stevenson and 6 from her partner Philip Hobsbaum during Stevenson's writing of Correspondences (1971-1974). Additional material includes a portfolio of 35 letters, 14 postcards and 4 Christmas cards between Joan Barton and Edward Tarling which discuss the contemporary poetry scene as well as reactions to her poetry (1970-1974).

Administrative / Biographical History

Wave magazine was one of the many little magazines which flourished during the 1970s. Set up by and paid for by its editor and proprietor, Edward (Ted) Tarling, the evidence from the correspondence suggests that the magazine kept going owing to Tarling's energetic and friendly approaches for contributions made to young poets. One contributor, Anne Stevenson, saw similarities between Wave and another small magazine Listen. 'I've seen Listen' she wrote in a letter dated 25 June 1971, 'and wonder if Wave is a continuation. They both impress me with their breadth of taste and high standards ...'. Another contributor, Philip Hobsbaum, talked about the 'clarity and form manifest in Wave' (1971). All contributors liked the format and quality of production of the magazine which was dedicated solely to poetry and did not include reviews of books in publication.

One of the most striking things about the material in this archive is the way in which Ted Tarling in his capacity as editor of Wave become a mediator and friend to young poets. As well as encouraging poets to submit their poetry he introduced them to each other and encouraged them to tell him about their publication success. In turn they advised him on in his personal life. In the end Wave folded because it could not afford to continue, the fate of most little magazines, but while in print it had provided an important service to many writers who felt ignored by the literary establishment. It was in the pages of Wave that one could read for the first time poems such as 'The Widow' (Elizabeth Jennings); 'How' (Philip Larkin); 'Coming Back to Cambridge' (Anne Stevenson) and 'The Emigrant' (Douglas Dunn)

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Purchased from Edward Tarling, 88 Westbourne Ave., Hull in May 1974

Related Material

Letters from Philip Larkin and Douglas Dunn to Edward Tarling [U DP/177]

Papers of Howard Sergeant [U DSG]

Archives of the poetry magazines 'Listen' [U DX/73], 'New Review' [U DP/168], 'Phoenix' [U DP/162] and 'Reality Studios' [U DRS]

Brynmor Jones Library:

Full set of Wave


  • Hartley, Jean, Philip Larkin, the Marvell Press and Me (1989)
  • Trilling, Lionel, The Function of the Little Magazine