Everywhere Roly went throughout his life he carried a small notebook which contained his ideas, drafts of poems and poems and sketches. Even when he was posted overseas during World War II, he sent his mother handwritten poems and stories which she paid to be transcribed and sent to publishers. Although he had some success with his poetry, he was determined to have his plays performed, which was far more difficult. Often depressed by rejections, and encouraged by some, particularly by Simon Callow and Derek Jarman, he continued to write plays in various styles, about people and ideas which fascinated him. These ranged from Absurdist plays to plays about Teddy Boys, the lives and ideas of Russian, Italian film directors, poets, political events and psychological and philosophical ideas. This meant that the audience also had to be knowledgeable and that some of the plays were rather like biographies and political debates. His poetry was far more accessible and was based on observation, his love of nature and people and events. Together in some ways the plays and poems are autobiographical and reflect the development of his ideas, his loves and passions as well as his fascination with contemporary ideas and events.
I have put together a list and some copies of Roly’s published and unpublished work. Since he started writing in the early 1940s and kept copies of all his work, there are more plays, poetry and short stories. He was in fact an incredibly prolific writer.
Published Short Stories
The Second Coming in World Review (December, 1952), pp44-48
Flood Water in London Magazine (April/May, 1987), pp16-23
Blue Cinema in Panurge 13 New Fiction (October, 1990), pp85-99
Rickshaw Boy in Words International (1988)
A Different Kind of Violence in Panurge 18 New Fiction (April, 1993), pp67-76
Visual Art in the 60’s Revolution or Distraction in Alchemist: The Magazine on the Fringe (1967), pp32-34
Letters from Lanyon in Modern Painters (Spring 1992), pp54-57
Peter Lanyon and the Third Abstraction in Modern Painters (Autumn, 1993), pp92-93
John Arden in Chichester Festival Theatre Programme (1965), pp16-17
Photo at launch of Words, May 21, 1985 (July, 1985), pp36-37
The Grey Night (a novel in verse)
No Stranger Country (in three parts)